LONDON: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has hired a law firm in London to verify the papers of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children.
The central-London based law firm has written letters to various departments asking if the papers submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan from Hasan, Hussain and Maryam Nawaz Sharif carry genuine stamps and signatures.
The JIT law firm has written letters to verify whether the papers submitted from London to the Supreme Court of Pakistan – mainly the trust deed between Hussain Nawaz and Maryam Nawaz – is genuine and whether it carries genuine verifications.
The News understands that the JIT’s main London law firm first contacted Hasan and Hussain Nawaz Sharif’s lawyers about 10 days ago. It also sent letters to the British government (FCO), HMRC and five banks seeking confirmation if the papers sent to Pakistan were genuine.
Lawyers acting for Hasan Nawaz have told the law firm that proper rules were followed while getting the papers verified under oath as any wrongdoing could land everyone in jail for offences of fraud and forgery but the lawyers also told the JIT’s law firm that its future communications with reference to the papers will not be entertained.
There is no chance that any of the banks involved or the HMRC will entertain correspondence by the JIT’s law firm under the client’s confidentiality agreements as revealing any information to a private law firm in a case of political nature will mean that any department doing so will end up in a court of law for breaking its governing rules.
Before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Sharif family submitted that the bearer share certificates of the four London flats remained in the custody of Maryam Nawaz — the PM’s daughter — between February and July 2006 and that a trust deed was executed between Maryam and Hussain Nawaz in February 2006, following which she acted as a trustee for her brother.
Lawyers acting for Hasan and Hussain Nawaz have told the Supreme Court of Pakistan through a notarised/ oath form that the trust deed between Hussain and Maryam was signed in their presence in February 2006. The SC didn’t raise any objections but the JIT’s appointed law firm is now seeking confirmation about this deed as well as various other papers.
The JIT law firm claims on its website that it has expertise in complex disputes and has a record of providing robust representation to achieve results through ‘aggressive’ litigation.When approached by The News as to who had hired it, who was paying the huge legal fees, whether anyone from London or Pakistan was involved in its hiring, the law firm refused to answer questions.
A source privy to the JIT proceedings told The News that three firms have been engaged in Britain to seek help in investigations. It’s understood that a forensic chartered accountancy firm has also been hired and another law firm is also on board.
When contacted, a Pakistan High Commission source said the Supreme Court of Pakistan had made no contact with it for the hiring of law firm for the verification of Sharifs’ papers or to seek assistance from any British government department or any financial institutions. The source said that it had no idea about the central-London law firm and on whose behalf it was acting.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan could have invoked the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) formula to obtain lots of helpful information for its probe into the Panama inquiry but strangely that route has not been adopted and services of private law and accountancy firms have been hired, which means the Supreme Court will end up picking huge amounts of legal bills without making any headway in any shape or form.
Hasan Nawaz Sharif submitted record of his properties before the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the first week of February 2017 and no objections were raised by the court on these papers. It’s understood that these documents included record of the four Park Lane flats owned by Hasan and Hussain Nawaz and details of Hasan Nawaz Sharif’s businesses and companies. These papers were first attested by Notary Public, then Pakistan High Commission and then the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Following this, Hasan Nawaz Sharif sent papers in post to the Supreme Court confirming that the papers were certified by all relevant institutions, including banks, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Land registry department.
A source at the Pakistan High Commission said that the papers were officially attested and verified before being sent to Pakistan. A source at the FCO said that it received papers in post from the lawyers and all papers were attested as per legal requirements.
Hasan Nawaz Sharif has answered all the JIT’s questions regarding the companies and assets he owns in Britain and handed over all the relevant documents as well. He says all the companies he owns are registered with regulatory and tax authorities in Britain and everything he is doing is legal.Hassan Nawaz has alleged that children of Nawaz Sharif were being summoned by the JIT to pressurize him and bring to standstill the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.
He said on Monday after appearing before the JIT: “I have provided all the documents related to my business and assets in UK. They found nothing and now looking for any justification to charge us. UK authorities where I am doing business for the last 15 years have never accused me of wrongdoing, they are satisfied. I asked them (JIT members) to tell me what is my fault, here the river is flowing in reverse where a loophole is being dug out.”