A six-member Joint Investigation Team(JIT) probing the assets of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family has recommended registration of corruption case against him and his sons Hussain and Hassan Nawaz in the Panama Papers case. A team submitted its report in the Supreme Court after 60 days of investigation. The Prime Minister has been denying any wrongdoing since his name appeared in Panama Papers last year.
Meanwhile the Supreme Court ordered an FIR against the chief of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Zafar Hijazi for tampering with records of Sharif family business. The court slapped a contempt notice on the printer publisher and reporter of largest media group Jang for misreporting on the facts of the JIT probe and contacting a judge on his report. Opposition parties alleged that Jang group has printed several factually incorrect stories in favour of the government.
Although Mr. Sharif had won a 3-2 split verdict in April this year, the apex court constituted a JIT to conduct fresh investigations into his family assets. The assets in question are four apartments costing several million pounds in Park Lane, London, which according to Panama Papers were purchased through off shore companies Nielson and Nescol but hidden from tax authorities in Pakistan.
The case was first reported by British media in 1996 when it claimed that the flats were purchased through money laundered by the Sharif family. A case was made by the government of slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto against Nawaz Sharif but it was not pursued when Mr.Sharif returned to power in 1997.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court took up the case on the petitions of opposition parties including Imran Khan’s Tehrik-i-Insaf and others who sought disqualification of Nawaz Sharif for not declaring the money trail. The court ordered the JIT to probe the money trail.
A report in The News claimed that the investigations have exonerated the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of the charges but found his sons Hussain and Hassan guilty of failing to establish the money trail.
There was no confirmation of the report as the court adjourned the hearing till next Monday.