Foreign firm’s plea seeking Volume 10 fixed for hearing

ISLAMABAD: A foreign firm has approached the Supreme Court for early hearing of its petition seeking a copy of Volume 10 of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on the Panamagate case.

Sardar Latif Khosa, counsel for Broadsheet, filed an application with the apex court, requesting it to fix hearing on July 10. The firm sought the report for a final decision on the quantum of damages Pakistan may face over an international dispute with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The application states, “The matter is pertaining to the award culminating out of the contractual obligations of the Government of Pakistan through NAB for which the provision of the details containing in Volume 10 of the JIT report is quit necessary for safeguarding the rights and interests of the applicant at the earliest, it would render its stance infructuous pending before International Courts hence, interest of justice demands that the titled application may be fixed and concluded at an earlier date.”

It is learnt that the court has accepted the petition for early hearing and it is expected that the case will be fixed in chamber next week.

Earlier, SC judge Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, while the hearing case in chamber on May 16, has sought additional documents from Broadsheet’s attorney Latif Khosa.

It is learnt that the applicant firm has already submitted the additional documents in the apex court.

The firm has approached the apex court after an international arbitration sought a copy of Volume 10 from the Attorney General of Pakistan, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Broadsheet in a case pertaining to some payments.

However, the SC Registrar Office had returned the plea by raising objections.

Broadsheet LLC, a company based in Isle of Man, started working in 2000 for and on behalf of the Government of Pakistan and the National Accountability Bureau for detecting/recovering hidden and unlawfully obtained assets of corrupt high-ranking persons/officials of Pakistan at its own costs under the agreement dated June 20, 2000 between the firm and the government of Pakistan, through NAB.

Broadsheet was hired by NAB to recover the money stashed in offshore companies.

However, disputes pertaining to the agreement between both the parties were referred to the arbitration in London where the litigation before sole arbitrator, Sir Anthony Evans, concluded in an interim award in terms of liability.

Subsequently, a dispute had arisen between both the parties and Broadsheet approached the International Arbitration for damages claims.

Now, it is learnt that Pakistan is also facing a $700 million lawsuit by Broadsheet.

Earlier, it was claimed that an agreement had been reached in May 2008 for paying $1.5 million. But, official documents showed that the company had taken the bureau to the International Court of Arbitration, claiming that it had not received the money. The firm is now pressing for payment of $700 million against Pakistan.

The application contends that the final award on the ‘quantum of damages’ will be given upon the submission of the missing information, i.e., Volume 10 of the JIT report.

The copy has to be presented before the International Arbitrator in London in the next hearing scheduled for July 16.

It is further submitted that “Volume 10 sought from this court will help arbitrate the quantum of damages issues pending in the arbitration, which is necessitated in the interest of justice in furtherance of the International Commitments of NAB”.

The petitioner’s obligations under the agreement were to assist in bringing back, through NAB, the huge wealth of Pakistan hidden outside of Pakistan by corrupt and unlawful means of high-ranking officials, including Nawaz Sharif and his family.

“Pursuant to the agreement, 80% of any assets repatriated to Pakistan were to be paid to the Republic and NAB,” it adds.

The application says that if Volume 10 is released to Broadsheet, the same public policy could be put to use other than the prosecutorial one.

The application states that the release of the volume 10 will meet the ends of justice whereas the none-release will create complications towards the fulfillment of International obligations by the state of Pakistan.

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