Gulf steel mills had liabilities of millions of Dirham
‘Documents negate Sharif family’s claim regarding Gulf Steel Mills’
NAB references against Sharif family based on ‘strong evidence’: DG NAB Lahore
-Chairman NAB Qamar Zaman Chaudhry has strengthen NAB –NAB has recovered Rupees 290 billion in last 18 years –Media portrays NAB ‘negatively’ despite its good work –Awareness in general public to report corruption is necessary –Media can play key role in fight against corruption
ISLAMABAD: The Panama Papers case linked Gulf Steel Mill which was cited as the original source of money for the Sharif family owned Avenfield apartments (commonly referred as the London apartments) apparently had liabilities of millions of Dirham at the time of its ‘alleged’ sale according to National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s Lahore Director General Shahzad Saleem.
Speaking exclusively in Roze News Program Sachi Baat with Editor in Chief Pakistan Group of Newspapers and Chairman Roze News Sardar Khan Niazi, DG NAB Lahore said that two of the four references filed by NAB under the Panama Papers scandal on the orders of the Supreme Court were prepared by NAB Lahore, the bureau headed by Shahzad Saleem. The references filed by NAB Lahore pertained to the Avenfield Apartments in London and against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for possessing assets beyond mean.
Shahzad Saleem while speaking in the program said that the references prepared by NAB Lahore are based on strong evidence. He further stated that the references have documentary evidence. He also told that a lot of potentially valuable and crucial information had been obtained from other countries under Mutual Legal Assistance by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case. He further added that NAB Lahore has also obtained information under the Mutual Legal Assistance from foreign countries.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his address to the nation stated that in 1980 this factory [Gulf steel mills] had been sold for $9 million. (As reported by a number of newspapers).
According to documents submitted to the Supreme Court by the children of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the Panamagate hearing, ‘In 1978, Late Mian Muhammad Sharif decided to sell off 75% shares of the Company to Mr Abdallah Kayed Ahli, inter alia, to settle the Company’s outstanding liabilities with the domestic bank in Dubai. Consequently, in 1978, Mr. Tariq Shafi sold 75% shares of the Company through a tri-partite agreement. It is pertinent to mention that the money obtained from the stake of 75% shares of Gulf Steel mills was utilised exclusively to settle its outstanding liabilities. Simultaneously, with the execution of the tri-partite agreement, it was agreed that the business for the factory would be run under the name of “Ahli Steel Mills Company” (the “Ahli Company”).
Of AED 28,500,000 capital of the Ahli Company, Mr Abdallah Kayed Ahli subscribed to 75% thereof, whilst the remaining 25% were treated as having been contributed by Mr Tariq Shafi in accordance with the tri-partite agreement. In this manner, Mr Abdallah Kayed Ahli came to own 75% of the business of the factory, which was previously exclusively owned by Late Mian Muhammad Sharif. A fresh partnership was executed between Mr. Abdallah Kayed Ahli and Mr Tariq Shafi.
That, in 1980, Late Mian Muhammad Sharif decided to disengage himself from his steel business in Dubai. Therefore, an agreement was signed between Mr Mohd Abdallah Kayed Ahli and Mr Tariq Shafi whereby the 25% shares in Ahli Company were sold to Mr Mohd Abdallah Kayed Ahli against a total sale consideration of AED 12 million.” (Assertions made in the extracts are solely the view of the respondents in the said case).
Speaking in the interview DG NAB Lahore Shahzad Saleem told that the time given to NAB for the preparation of references was very short but NAB has done its best in the preparation of these references. He said that in the reference against Ishaq Dar, NAB put in a lot of effort and did not rely only on the JIT report.
Highlighting the work of National Accountability Bureau, Shahzad Saleem said that NAB has recovered a mammoth amount of Rupees 290 billion in the last 18 years. Speaking about the performance of Lahore in recent months Shahzad Saleem said that in the past five months since he assumed the position of DG NAB Lahore, NAB Lahore has recovered amount of approximately 60 to 80 million. He said that most of the cases NAB Lahore receives are related to real estate fraud.
He also appealed to the general public to come forward if they have evidence regarding corrupt practices of any individual or institution. The DG NAB Lahore lamented that people are afraid to come forward with proof even after leveling allegations. He said that it is important to raise awareness in the general public so that people pin point corruption.
He also lamented the misconceptions in the media regarding NAB. Shahzad Saleem also lauded the role played by Chairman NAB Qamar Zaman Chaudhry and said that the Chairman NAB has given strict instructions to ever officer of NAB to proceed against corruption without fear. He said that under the current Chairman, NAB has gone from strength to strength and had recovered billions of rupees.