ISLAMABAD  - The Joint Investigation Team (JIA) report without all responses of all the Mutual Legal Assistance requests can’t be considered complete.

The JIT had sent 21 requests to six countries for Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) and out of them only got reply of five requests and those are only about authentication or verification of the documents, already submitted by the parties in the Supreme Court in the Panama Leaks case.

The implementation bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal, had given two-month time to the JIT to submit the report. The JIT was tasked to investigate and collect evidence regarding the 13 questions. The JIT has submitted 10 volumes of evidence but requested the court to keep the volume 10 confidential as it contains replies of MLAs. The legal experts were of the view that keeping in view the incomplete responses of the MLA requests the JIT investigation report is still inconclusive.

The JIT sent three requests for MLA to Attorney General, British Virgin Island (BVI), seven to Home Office, UK Central Authority, one to Ministry of Interior, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, seven to Ministry of Justice, United Arab Emirates, two to Central Authority, Switzerland and one to Prosecutor General, Luxemburg.

According to JIT report, so far the BVI has authenticated Errol George (Director, Financial Investigation Agency, BVI) correspondence with J Nizbeth Maduro [Money Laundering Reporting Officer, Mossack Fonseca & Co. (BVI)] during June 2012 that Maryam Safdar is the beneficial owner of Neilsen and Nescol companies, which own the Avenfield Apartments. 

The MLA request to the UK Central Authority seeking record of English High Court proceeding in the Al-Towfeek case is still not received. The JIT has drawn finding on the basis of draft Settlement Agreement, while does not have the original Settlement Agreement between the plaintiff – Al-Towfeek and four defendants –  Hudaibiya Paper Mills Limited, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Mian Muhammad Sharif and Mian Muhammad Abbas Sharif signed for the discharge of the payment.

The JIT on the basis of Errol George correspondence has dismissed the contentions of Maryam Safdar of being the Trustee of Avenfield though she has produced the letter from SAMBA showing her linkage with the Minerva Service.

The MLAs received from the UAE are regarding the affidavits of Tariq Shafi, benamidar of Mian Muhammad Sharif for Gulf Steel Mills. According to the JIT report, the Ministry of Justice UAE has not verified the Tariq Sharif’s affidavit regarding 25 per cent shares of Gulf Steel Mills.

Sharif family claimed that 25 per cent sale proceed of Gulf Steel Mills was used for the investment in Dubai. However, the JIT negated this claim on the basis of MLA received from the Ministry of Justice, UAE, but it is not sure where the 25 per cent shares of Gulf Steel Mills were used.

According to the JIT report page 38: “The remaining 25 per cent shares of Ahli Steel Mills (erstwhile Gulf Steel Mills) belonging to Sharif family were ostensibly sold between 1978 to 1986, and were used; a) to clear remaining liabilities (14 million Dirhams). b) to invest in new business in Dubai, owned by Mian Muhammad Sharif and operated by Tariq Shafi from 1980-81 into 1994 …”

In response to the JIT’s MLA, the Ministry of Justice, Government of UAE after having scrutinised held record about Gulf Steel Mills certified vide letter No. INA 68/2017 dated June 28, 2017.

It mentioned that there is case no. 12/94 civil, the plaintiff/BCCI – UAE, the defendents/Muhammad Shafi bin Mayan Muhammad Shafi executed against, whereas the court sentenced to oblige the defendents/Muhammad Tariq Shafi as the owner of Al Omran Commercial; est to pay an amount of AED 9,733,980,80 and interest of 9 per cent from 2/2/1994 till the full payment and fees, and an amount of AED 500 for the lawyer fees and fix the attachment no.340/94 9 date of sentence 15/8/2013.

The share sale 25 per cent agreement of 1980 of Ahli Steel Mills (erstwhile Gulf Steel Mills) date on 14/4/1980 according to your request does not exist.

That no transaction worth AED 12,000,000 (twelve million) as sale proceeds of 25 per cent share of Ahli Steel Mills (erstwhile Gulf Steel Mills) ever took place in name of Muhammad Tariq Sharif. That no record could be found which indicates that notarisation of this document was done by Notary Public of Dubai Courts on 30/05/2016.

TERENCE J SIGAMONY