- Prosecution witness says there were irregularities in Sharifs’ documents
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif on Friday said he was afraid that he would be disqualified from contesting the upcoming general elections as well.
Talking to reporters outside the accountability court in Islamabad, Nawaz Sharif said: “It seems I will be kept away from the election in one pretext or the other.” He said the public had not accepted the decision regarding his disqualification on having “Iqama”.
Nawaz Sharif expressed astonishment that a political party head had been de-seated. He also expressed concern that the PML-N, which was the largest political party in the country, was being deprived of their democratic right to contest the Senate election.
A day after the confession of the prime witness, Robert Radley, regarding the availability of Calibri font in 2005, Nawaz stated that “the public was getting aware of the baseless allegation” made against the Sharif family in the Panama Papers’ graft cases.
On Thursday, the forensic expert, Radley, had concluded that the Calibri font could not have been used in the trust deed by Maryam Nawaz as it was not commercially available before January 31, 2007, admitted before an accountability court that the font existed since April 2005 in the beta version of Windows Vista.
Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (r) Safdar were all present in the courtroom where the family’s lawyer Khwaja Haris completed the questioning of the forensic expert Radley.
During the cross-examination, Robert Radley told the court he wanted to change his statement. He was informed that his statement had been recorded a day earlier and now he was to be examined.
Radley said he only received the documents on July 6, had he not been pressed for time he would have been able to submit a ten-times more detailed report.
PML-N counsel Haris asked if he meant that due to a lack of time the report submitted was not correct. Radley responded that was not the case and that he was completely certain about the accuracy of his report, adding that if he wasn’t pressed for time the report would have been more detailed.
Cross questioning Radley, Haris asked if he was an IT expert, to which Radley responded that he was not. Radley further stated that the font in question was in his use back in 2005. The defence counsel then stated that the report he submitted was incorrect, to which Radley stated that his report was absolutely correct.
Was the creator of the Calibri font given an award for his services in the field of IT, the defence counsel asked; to which Radley affirmed.
Radley also told the prosecution that he had mentioned all of his sources in his first report, however, he had omitted them from his second report.
Windows introduced six fonts from 2002 through to 2006, the PML-N counsel noted, questioning the witness if he had stated the same in his report. Bradley responded that the report was technical in nature hence this detail was not mentioned.
After Radley, the court recorded the statement of Raja Akhtar, owner of the Quist law firm in the UK and the cousin of Wajid Zia.
Raja informed the court that he found his law firm in 1994 and the JIT approached the company for its services on May 12, 2017.
Raja informed the court that upon examination a lot of irregularities and fraud were found in the documents that were provided to him by the JIT.
He confirmed that the services were of professional nature and entailed legal cooperation regarding the Panama Papers case in the Supreme Court.
Akhtar said that he was provided with the copies of the documents submitted before the Supreme Court, which included trust declarations for Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited. Another trust declaration for Comber Group Inc. was also sent to him, Akhtar told the court.
Freeman Box Solicitors confirmed to Quist that the trust deed between Hussain and Maryam Nawaz was signed on February 4, 2006, Akhtar said.
The court adjourned the hearing till March 2 and summoned Panama Papers’ joint investigation team (JIT) chief Wajid Zia to appear before it in the next hearing.
The NAB has in total filed three references against the Sharif family and another against the former finance minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court, in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.
The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties, and over dozen offshore companies owned by the family.
Maryam and Safdar are only nominated in the London properties reference. At an earlier hearing, the court also approved Maryam and Safdar’s bail in the Avenfield properties case and ordered them to submit surety bonds worth Rs5 million each.
Meanwhile, in another major blow to the political career of Nawaz Sharif, the Supreme Court (SC) had ruled that a person disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan cannot head a party, making Nawaz ineligible to lead the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).