Noting that the PM’s family’s assets do not match their known income, the joint investigation team (JIT) probing their offshore assets has recommended filing of reference against Nawaz Sharif and his sons with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Members of the high-powered JIT submitted on Monday its fourth and final, 256-page report to the apex court.
“Failure on the part of all Respondents to produce the requisite information confirming “known sources of income’ is prima facie tantamount to not being ablento justify assets and the means of income,” the report read.
The five-judge bench was split 3-2 while announcing the April 20 verdict, with head judge Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed ruling against the premier in their dissenting notes. Through its final decision, the top court formed a JIT and ordered it to investigate in depth the money trail for the ruling family’s contentious London flats at the heart of the case.
A three-judge bench of the apex court was formed to oversee the implementation of the April 20 verdict. The six-member JIT, headed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia, was given two months to find out answers to some 13 questions – mainly related to the money trail for the Sharifs’ London properties – and a deadline of July 10 was set by the court. Apart from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the JIT interrogated some seven members of the Sharif family over the last two months. Nawaz’s elder son Hussain appeared before the panel six times. His younger brother appeared thrice. Other Sharif family members who testified before the JIT included Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, premier’s daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Capt (retd) Safdar, and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. However, the Sharif family’s prime defence in the case – Qatari Prince Hamad Bin Jassim bin Jaber al Thani who supported the Sharifs money trail through two separate letters – did not appear before the probe team. A more crucial question, therefore, is whether the top court will accept a report minus the prince’s testimony.
On Sunday, top heads in PML-N came together to map out a plan to wage a battle on both legal and political fronts against the probe panel in a bid to avert any adverse outcome. Low-key meetings between the prime minister and members of his legal team arrived at the decision to challenge the JIT report – in the top court as well as in public – sources in the ruling camp said.