The abettors: Maryam and Capt Safdar

ISLAMABAD: Apart from convicting former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the accountability court has held that Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz is the ultimate beneficial owner of the Avenfield apartments and that she produced “bogus” trust deeds to mislead the court.

Through the Friday’s judgment, the court has convicted and sentenced the apparent political heir of the Sharif family, Maryam Nawaz, as well as her husband Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar.

The former first daughter has been given seven years for abetment after she was found “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father” and one year for non-cooperation with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

“The trust deeds produced by Maryam were also found bogus,” Judge Muhammad Bashir stated in the judgment. “She was instrumental in concealment of the properties of [her] father accused Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.”

In addition, the judge stated, “Maryam Nawaz aided, assisted, abetted, attempted and acted in conspiracy with her father, who was a holder of Public Office. Therefore, the prosecution has succeeded in establishing her guilt within the meaning of Section 9(a)(v)(xii) NAO 1999 read with serial No2 of the schedule and punishable under section 10 and schedule attached therewith.”

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In the view of the role of Maryam, “she is convicted and sentenced to Rigorous imprisonment for seven years with fine of two million pounds under section 9(a)(v)(xii) NAO 1999 read with section 10 of NAO 1999 and simple imprisonment for one year under Serial No.2 of the schedule.”

The court has held that both the sentences shall run concurrently.

For Safdar, the judge held that he signed the trust deeds as a witness and also aided, abetted, attempted, and acted in conspiracy with Sharif. He was convicted and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one year under the same sections as his wife.

On forensic expert Robert Radley, the judge said that Calibri font was available for testing purposes and was not available commercially. From a perusal of the statement and cross-examination, he said, it is clear that it is not disputed that Calibri font was not commercially available before January 31, 2007.

“The trust deeds are filed to mislead the court and not prepared on the date noted in this deed,” the judgment stated. “No crime goes undetected,” he added, “in this case when the law in British Virgin Island changed in 2006, conveniently the accused went and registered the bearer share certificates into registered shares and accused Maryam Safdar became the beneficial owner.

“This fact becomes known to the BVI attorney general in response to the MLA [Mutual Legal Assistance] request,” the judge stated.

In the judgment, the court held that the documents produced by the witness established that Maryam is the beneficial owner Nielson and Nescoll. The judge added that “she is also claiming to be a trustee of those companies.”

Maryam Nawaz’s Wikipedia page locked post ‘abusive edits’

In addition, the judge said that Maryam must have produced the documents if any to prove the contrary, meaning thereby that she had no such documents and she is the beneficial owner of said companies as shown in the documents of the British Virgin Island (BVI)’s Financial Investigation Agency (FIA) and Mossack Fonseca.

The response from Mossack Fonseca regarding Nielson and Nescoll duly certified by the FIA stated that based on their due diligence records, the beneficial owner of the companies is Maryam Safdar.

The judgment revealed that a letter dated 3.12.2005 of the assistant general manager SAMBA financial group to Minerva Service Limited shows that Maryam is one of their customers and her address is shown as Saroor Palace, Jeddah.

Also, the order read, “This letter indicates that accused Maryam Safdar was connected with the Avenfield Apartments before 2006. To rebut this assertion, Maryam should have placed detailed documents on both the companies.”

The judge said that JIT prepared an analysis chart of assets and liabilities of Maryam, Hussain, Hassan and Sharif and questions were asked of the accused in this regard during their statements under section 342 of Criminal Procedure Code, but they gave evasive answers without giving any further details of income other than those mentioned in the chart.

“They did not have income which could justify the acquisition and possession during the early nineties, the judge stated. He added that by withholding relevant documents from the court, it can be assumed that submission of those documents would be adverse the interests of the withholder of the documents.

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