Resuming the hearing of the Panamagate case on Thursday, a five-member larger bench led by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa also sought explanation from the chairman NAB over reasons to avoid challenging the Lahore High Court referee judge's verdict in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case.
In his verdict of March 11, 2014, the referee judge had issued directives to the NAB not to reinitiate an inquiry against Nawaz Sharif and his family members in the Rs3.48 billion wilful loan default case concerning Hudaibiya Paper Mills and other companies.
Advancing his arguments before the bench, Salman Akram Raja submitted that Maryam Nawaz remained a beneficiary owner of Mayfair properties in London for at least six months in 2006 (from February to July).
Salman Akram Raja pleaded if it is presumed that his clients have done anything wrong or the court does not agree with him (Raja) even than the Prime Minister can't be awarded any punishment.
He reiterated that Hussain Nawaz is the sole owner of the Mayfair properties, which has nothing to do with the other members of the Sharif family.
To which, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa remarked, "Can we not say that the London flats belong to the Sharif family because business was established from the investment of Mian Sharif abroad?"
Justice Khosa further observed that there is a contradiction between the Prime Minister's speech and the statements of his daughter and sons.
Submitting documents before the court about the services which his client rendered from Minerva Financial Service Limited, Raja said the documents include receipts of £6000 payments against the services. Responding to a query of Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh, the counsel said that Hussain Nawaz availed services of Minerva Limited, which nominated directors of offshore companies.
To which, Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh observed that it is important to know about those documents through which Hussain Nawaz was declared the owner of the London flats, adding that under a trust deed bearer certificates were transferred to Maryam Nawaz in February 2006.
Raja submitted that due to an amendment in law in July 2006, the bearer certificates were cancelled and then were issued to the name of Minerva Limited, saying the shares were in the custody of the Minerva Financial Services Limited from July 2006 to June 2014.
Citing a number of regional and global precedents, Salman Akram Raja emphasised that the apex court cannot form a commission in the matter in hand.
Responding to Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa that as to why the apex court is unable to form a commission under the law, Raja submitted that the directives for a commission will affect a fair trial in the matter.
He pleaded if the apex court forms a commission in the Panamagate case then there are strong possibilities that subordinate courts or institutions will be impressed by the apex court's observation. Raja said that there are two kinds of commissions, one which is mandated to gather information whereas the other one which is asked to search for evidence for the trial of an accused, so the apex court has no constitutional power to form a commission.
Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa observed that the court will take a decision about formation of a commission in the current matter after some time, whereas Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh remarked that the court has to follow the rules as judges and the prime ministers come and go. While adjourning the matter for next date, Justice Asif Saeed Khan said that during next week, the matter would be heard from Tuesday to Thursday due to ailment of one of the members of the bench, Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh.
Later, the hearing of the matter was adjourned till February 21.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017