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Maryam Nawaz again distanced herself from Avenfield properties

28 May, 2018

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Maryam Nawaz, while recording her statement in the accountability court in Islamabad on Monday, once again distanced herself from Avenfield properties as well as the British Virgin Islands offshore companies Nielsen and Nescoll that were linked to the former premier's daughter in the Panama Papers.

The Panama Papers released in April 2016 by law firm Mossack Fonseca described Maryam as "the owner of British Virgin Islands-based firms Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited, incorporated in 1994 and 1993".

While recording her testimony under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Maryam said: “I am not and I have never been the beneficial owner of Nescoll, Nielsen companies or the Avenfield properties, nor have I derived any financial benefit from either company or the said property in any way whatsoever.”

She challenged the authenticity of a Mossack Fonseca letter dated June 22, 2012, and the financial investigation agencies' claim that she was the beneficial owner of the offshore companies that owned London properties.

Maryam testified before the court that the Panamagate joint investigation team did not produce the original letter, in response to which Mossack Fonseca had stated that Maryam was the beneficial owner of the contentious offshore accounts.

"These documents were not certified as required by the applicable law nor were they subjected to cross-examination by me so that I could test the veracity of the contents of these documents," she said.

Therefore, she stated that the said document could not be used as evidence against her since it would be tantamount to denying her the right to fair trial.

Maryam also denied any involvement "in any transaction of the sale of 25 per cent of Gulf Steel Mills in 1980 and with the subsequent investment."

She further said that the response to the request for mutual legal assistance was not a credible document and hence "not admissible evidence".
Election 2018 code of conduct targets PML-N: Nawaz

Former PM Nawaz, during an informal chat with reporters at the court, claimed that by barring political parties from projecting their governments' work in the upcoming general elections, his party had been targeted.

He termed the code of conduct for the upcoming polls as "unfair" and said that the PML-N would officially express its displeasure against it.

Nawaz recalled the projects initiated during his tenure and indicated that his party stood to gain the most by projecting progress.

He criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and claimed that the Imran Khan-led party could not deliver anything worthwhile in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

"Their five-year performance was disappointing," he said. "Imran Khan can hardly point out any single project in the public sector, social sector, communications or related to energy that the KP government has delivered in their five years."

Nawaz also questioned the nomination of Manzoor Afridi as the caretaker chief minister of KP.

"He is the brother of an incumbent senator belonging to the PTI," he said, adding that it appeared to be a case of "billi ko doodh ki rakhwali pe bitha dia hai (a person with vested interest being put in charge)" and "andha bantay rewrian (A blind person distributing sweet treats)".

Nawaz claimed that his current legal battle is identical to the 1999 hijacking case in which he was convicted and awarded 27 years of imprisonment.

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