ISLAMABAD - The joint investigation team head on Panama Papers, Wajid Zia, Monday told the accountability court the British Virgin Islands authorities refused to assist the team probing Nescoll and Nielson that control the Sharif family’s London flats, but the refusal was not made part of the JIT’s final report.

The counsel for Maryam Nawaz asked Zia when and in whose name the registered shares of Nielson were issued. He replied, according to the documents, the shares were issued in the name of Minerva on July 4, 2006.

He also said, according to the witnesses whose statements were recorded, never said Maryam Nawaz ever held bearer shares of Nescoll. “Was this the case related to Nielson’s bearer shares?” asked Amjad Pervaiz, the counsel for Maryam Nawaz. Zia said he could say about it only by seeing the relevant documents.

Zia also said Maryam Nawaz also stated before the JIT that she did not remember bearer shares of Nielson and Nescoll had ever been in her name. “Hussain Nawaz also said bearer shares of Nielson and Nescoll were not in the name of Maryam Nawaz,” said Zia.

The defence counsel said, as per the trust deed, Hussain Nawaz was the settler. Zia said there were discrepancies between the statement of Maryam Nawaz and content of the trust deed which said she held these shares.

The defence counsel argued what Zia was saying should be corroborated by the statements of the witnesses who had been identified by the JIT chief.

The JIT head said that in the trust deed of Nielson and Nescoll, the word beneficiary had been used for Hussain Nawaz and, according to their point of view, the trust deed was fictitious. To this, the defence counsel said he was telling a lie.

Zia told the court when Hussain Nawaz was asked if any of the Sharif family members ever remained a beneficial owner of these companies from 1994 to 1996, he did not categorically refuse to own them and said he did know.

Zia told the court that the JIT had sent the mutual legal assistant to British Virgin Islands officials to seek documents regarding Nielson and Nescol, but he did not receive any reply and it could not be said with certainty as to who was registered as the shareholder of Nielson and Nescoll.

Zia also said no such documents were found to verify that Maryam Nawaz ever paid the ground floor rent of Avenfield properties. The MLA about Avenfield properties was also sent to British officials, but no reply was received, said Zia, adding no such documents were available to show that Maryam Nawaz paid the fee to the service providers.

When the defense counsel asked Zia if the management of Minarwa was ever investigated, he replied the Minarwa management was not interrogated directly.