The latest development in the Broadsheet LLC scandal sees the UK based law firm making a payment of £20,000 (Rs4.5 million) to the Sharif family in the settlement payout of the case after withdrawing the Avenfeild reference before the London High Court.
As per the legal evidence, the amount was delivered to cover the Sharif family’s legal fees after the attachment application for the seizure and sale of four Avenfield Apartments in the Broadsheet vs Pakistan/National Accountability Bureau (NAB) case was withdrawn.
The counsels for both the Sharif family and the law firm itself have confirmed that the payment of £20,000 has been made.
After the payout was made, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz and Advisor to Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar took to Twitter to throw shots at one another.
Maryam said this is “another tight slap on the faces of all the accusers and liars as Broadsheet’s lawyers had to pay [Rs4.5 million] to Nawaz Sharif’s lawyers after raising questions about the London flats and then running away from court.”
To this, thee advisor replied: “Lawyers had to pay according to the law, which does not wash away your sins and crimes. By the way, you have not been able to give the money trail of these flats till today!”
Last week, Sarina Isa, wife of the sitting judge of the Supreme Court (SC), Justice Qazi Faez Isa, had filed an application to the top anti-graft body raising as many as 17 questions for response.
In her application to NAB, Sarina Isa had claimed that shocking things are being reported about the Bureau and an assets recovery company ‘Broadsheet’. She had said: “Huge amounts have been recovered by Broadsheet and a large amount, embezzled of taxpayers money, including mine.”
She had alleged that NAB has not disclosed any of the facts but a worker of a political party, Mirza Shahzad Akbar who she said has made statements on the media and appears to be involved in a cover-up.
Urging the bureau to provide the information she asked through the application, which read: “Is Mirza Shahzad Akbar NAB’s spokesman, if so, please provide a copy appointing him, what if any is the relationship between NAB and Mirza Shahzad Akbar.”
She had asked the watchdog to respond whether Akbar had met with the representative/owner of Broadsheet on behalf of the NAB, and if he did, what transpired in such a meeting or meetings.
“Was the appointment of assets recovery company advertised? If so please provide a copy,” she had demanded.
She had also sought a copy of a decision from the NAB under which a selection committee has chosen Broadsheet as well as if the appointment of the assets recovery company was advertised.
Raising another question, she had said, “Broadsheet was introduced to NAB/Government of Pakistan by whom and when Broadsheet was selected and appointed by whom, who drafted the agreement to be entered into with Broadsheet?”
She had also sought a copy of the agreement with Broadsheet, names and nationalities of the owners of Broadsheet and their respective expertise.
In her probe, she had sought the particulars of the amount paid to and recovered by Broadsheet.
“Has NAB checked if a bribe was paid to anyone in NAB/Government of Pakistan? Did NAB conduct an inquiry to determine who was responsible for making the payment?” she had stated.
NAB had come under fire after its non-payment to Broadsheet LLC led a UK high court to order that an amount of Rs4.5 billion be debited to the account of the Pakistan High Commission.
According to the order of the court, millions of dollars must be debited to the accounts of the high commission by December 30, sources in the Foreign Office had said.
United Bank Limited (UBL) had written a letter to the Pakistan High Commission, dated December 29, and had requested the provision of written debit account details for the payment of $28,706,533.35 in line with the Final Third Party Order issued by the high court.
The letter had warned that the bank would unilaterally debit the accounts if no written details are provided.
The high commission had replied, in a letter addressed to UBL Chief Executive Officer Brain Firth, that if any attempt to unilaterally debit the account would be a violation of international law and a breach of trust. The high commission had also warned that such actions would affect their relationship with the bank.
In November 2018, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) awarded a penalty of $17 million to the anti-corruption watchdog. Later $3 million case cost was added to the award. In March 2019, the LCIA given a $20 million final award.
As NAB did not pay that amount, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) penalised them for $17 million as well as a further $3 million case cost; due to interest rates, the award amount reached $28.7 million by December 2020.
NAB officials had previously made a mistaken payment of $5 million and caused a loss of $14 million to Pakistan.
Senior lawyers have already demanded stern action against the NAB officials, responsible for this loss. Until now, more than Rs2 billion have been spent on litigation.
Earlier today, the UK High Court of Justice issued an order against the attachment of four Avenfield Apartments owned by the Sharif family in relation to the case Broadsheet vs Islamic Republic of Pakistan and NAB.
Broadsheet LLC had argued that the government of Pakistan had vested interest in the properties as the confiscation of the Avenfield Apartments was ordered by Judge Muhammad Bashir of an accountability court. The LLC had requested that the properties be handed over to them if Pakistan cannot make its penalty payments.
However, the UK High Court had earlier ordered against this attachment of the Avenfield properties.