ISLAMABAD - While recording his statement before the accountability court in the Avenfield properties reference Tuesday, ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif defended Qatari Prince Sheikh Hammad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, saying he was willing to join the investigation, but the joint investigation team did not record his statement.

The Avenfield reference, pertaining to the Sharif family’s London flats, is among the three references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the light of the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers case.

On the second day, while responding to a question that he had instigated the Qatari prince to refuse to join the investigation, as claimed by the JIT head in his statement, the former premier accused Wajid Zia of his bias and inveterate hostility towards him.

“There is not even an iota of evidence on record to support this mischievously false allegation that it was due to my instigation and persuasion that the Qatari prince did not join the investigation,” the former premier said, adding: “The evidence on record establishes that Wajid Zia and JIT members deliberately and maliciously manoeuvred not to examine Hammad bin Jasim in support of his letters.”

Answering another question, Sharif said: “Hammad bin Jassim, who had repeatedly verified the contents of his letters in this regard, was never personally examined by the JIT despite his repeated willingness to make himself available for the said purpose in his palace in Qatar.”

“Al-Thani actually showed willingness to meet the JIT but at his palace in Qatar rather than in Pakistan or Pakistani embassy,” Sharif said. He deposed before the accountability court that the entire statement of Zia was based on his opinion.

He further accused Zia of misleading the UAE government instead of seeking information regarding the transportation of machinery from Dubai to Saudi Arabia.

Continuing his stance taken on Monday while replying to initial queries regarding the acquisition of London properties and Gulf Steel Mills, the former premier detached himself from any transaction or correspondence related to Qatar or the Qatari royal prince pertaining to the case.

“I was never associated with or involved in any transaction pertaining to any matter related to Qatar or in the preparation of the worksheet or any of the transactions mentioned in the worksheet,” Sharif said.

He told the accountability court that UK solicitor Akhtar Riaz Raja had sent copies of the trust deeds of offshore companies, Nescoll and Nielsen, to forensic expert Robert William Radley.

He said despite the fact that the photocopy of a document could not be forensically examined, Radley, with an ulterior motive, preceded to prepare the report instead of regretting to examine the photocopies sent via email.

Radley had called the veracity of the trust deed into question. His contention was that it was in Calibri font, not commercially available at that time, and some overwriting on the date the trust deed was supposed to have been signed.

The former premier said Jeremy Freeman, another UK solicitor, in January 2017 had admitted and confirmed the genuineness of the trust deed, but neither Raja nor any member of the JIT or NAB made any effort to obtain the copies of the trust deed from him.

Replying to a question regarding his sons, Hussain and Hassan Nawaz, who are absconders, the former premier said: “Both are sui juris (independent) and answerable to their own acts.”

Sharif has so far responded to 123 questions of the total 128. The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday (today) when Sharif will continue recording his statement.