Never owned London flats, Nielsen and Nescoll, says Maryam in testimony

  • Maryam has recorded her statement in 82 of the 128 questions asked by the court during past two hearings.
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD –  Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, on Monday said that she never owned London flats and offshore companies, Nielsen and Nescoll.

She stated this during her testimony before the accountability court in the Avenfield case, one of the three references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against members of Sharif family in the light of the Panamagate verdict.

A law firm, Mossack Fonseca, released the Panama Papers in April 2016, describing Maryam as “the owner of British Virgin Islands-based firms Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited, incorporated in 1994 and 1993”.

Maryam added that she never took any financial benefit from these companies, besides denying links with 25% shares of Gulf Steel Mills, Al-Taufiq case, and settlement worth Rs12 million. She remarked that the Capital FZE documents had nothing to do with her.

Nawaz, Maryam and Captain (retd) Safdar have reached the court where strict security measures have been taken.

Maryam, who started testimony on Thursday, has recorded her statement in 82 of the 128 questions asked by the court during past two hearings.

Hassan Owner of London Flats

At the last hearing on Friday, Maryam claimed that the London properties are owned by her brother Hussan Nawaz, who is also the beneficial owner of British Virgin Islands offshore companies Nielsen and Nescoll.

Questioning the credibility of the forensic report prepared by Robert Radley, Maryam said that the report carried contradiction in the facts; therefore, it cannot be trusted.

She added that the Supreme Court did not ask any question about the trust deeds regarding Nielsen and Nescoll when it was submitted during the Panama Papers case hearing.

Maryam said that the JIT initiated probe regarding the trust deed on its own and sought help from a so-called forensic expert with bad intentions. She also termed the process of hiring the expert and sending him documents suspicious. The report was prepared on the basis of a scanned copy which is unacceptable.

JIT Probe Swayed by Civil-Military Tension

On Thursday, the former first daughter added that 70-year-long civil-military tussle also influenced the JIT, investigation into the business dealings of the Sharif family.

She also expressed reservations on the members of the joint investigation team. She said that appointment of Irfan Mangi as director general of NAB was still pending with the court and he was engaged for the probe without ignoring it.

Panamagate JIT probe swayed by civil-military tension, says Maryam in Avenfield’s testimony

She went on to say that Amir Aziz from State Bank of Pakistan was a close aide of the former military dictator Pervez Musharraf.

Maryam also said officials of Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence should not have been made part of the investigation team. Aziz was sent on deputation in NAB during Musharraf’s era.

She said that Nauman Saeed was not part of the ISI when he was included in the JIT, adding that he was outsourced.

NAB Cases

Besides Avenfield reference, other two references filed by the accountability watchdog pertain to Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Al Azizia steel mills.

Nawaz Sharif and his sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are named in the Avenfield reference only.