Imran’s lawyer admits record of $100,000 relating to Bani Gala not found
CJ says documents submitted in court by Imran were not acceptable since they were photocopies and not original
ISLAMABAD, Sept 12 (SABAH): Resuming the disqualification case of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday, Chief Justice Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar questioned whether Imran Khan’s counsel has submitted the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman’s complete financial records to the court. Chief justice said the court could order investigations into the disputed facts. He said every document presented regarding Bani Gala property is different from the other.
Justice Nisar pointed out that the PTI chief had not attached details of the money trail for the purchase of the Bani Gala property.
“Where are the receipts of the transactions that prove that the PTI chief borrowed money from Jemima and returned it to her later?” asked Justice Saqib Nisar.
He also wondered how Imran could buy the property in Jemima’s name for which he had asked her for a loan. In December, 2016, Khan had told the Election commission of Pakistan (ECP) that he had borrowed money from his ex-wife to pay for the Bani Gala land, which he had purchased on March 13, 2002 for Rs43.5 million — an amount that, according to Khan, was payable in installments. He had also said that the property was purchased in Jemima’s name; however, she had transferred it to his name as a gift after their divorce.
The bench, while reiterating its earlier statements that the financial transactions between husband and wife should not be raised in court, insisted that the PTI chief was still bound to declare the loan in his financial records when he filed his nomination papers before 2002, since it was a liability.
Responding to the chief justice’s question as to why Jemima sent money through Rashid Khan instead of transferring it directly to Imran, Naeem Bokhari said that Rashid Khan, who was a mutual friend of the former couple, was an employee of the CitiBank and would convert the currency before passing it on to the PTI chief. He added that $285,000 were transferred to Rashid’s account.
The bench demanded the money trail of $126,000 which is allegedly missing. Bokhari informed the court that the transaction records of $16,000 and $5,000 that took place between Jemima and Rashid were available and asked for a day’s time to submit them.
Imran’s lawyer Naeem Bokhari maintained that his client had submitted all documents as per the court’s instructions, including the details of the Bani Gala property. However, the chief justice maintained that the documents submitted were photocopies and therefore, not acceptable.
Meanwhile, Akram Sheikh, the lawyer for PML-N’s Muhammad Hanif Abbasi, raised doubts over the authenticity of the money trail sent by Jemima in June.
PTI chief Imran Khan’s lawyer Naeem Bokhari admitted in court that a record of $100,000 pertaining Imran Khan’s Bani Gala mansion was not found.
Justice Nisar pointed out that there was no documentary evidence that Imran Khan had borrowed money from Jemima and then returned it to her later for the purchase of Bani Gala mansion.
“Where are the receipts of the transactions that prove that the PTI chief borrowed money from Jemima and returned it to her later?” he asked.
The court further stated that Imran was supposed to disclose the loan in the nomination papers that he had filed before the general elections of 2002, since the loan was a liability.
“Imran Khan will have to prove that he borrowed the amount from Jemima,” said the chief justice.
Naeem Bokhari stated in response to a question raised by the court that Jemima had transferred the money to Imran via the couple’s mutual friend Rashid since he was an employee of CitiBank and could convert the money before handing it to Imran.
As per Bokhari, $285,000 were transferred to Rashid from Jemima. The court demanded that money trail pertaining to the Bani Gala transaction amounting to $126,000 was missing.
In response, Bolkhari replied that records of transactions amounting to $16,000 and $5,000 conducted between Jemima and Rashid were available. However, he conceded that a transaction amounting to $100,000 was missing.
The chief justice stated that documents submitted in court by Imran Khan were not acceptable since they were photocopies and not original. Bukhari assured the bench he will try his best to satisfy the court.
Akram Sheikh, the counsel for Hanif Abbasi, argued that in the documents the name of the person who sent the amount was stated as J. Khan. “J. Khan could also be Jahangir Khan,” he said. “The J. Khan transaction has been proved,” he added.
Akram Sheikh stated that CitiBank had closed down its operations in Pakistan in 2006 hence the authenticity of the documents was questionable.
“Habib Bank had taken control of CitiBank’s affairs. The records can be obtained from Habib Bank as well,” he added. Akram Sheikh said Imran Khan did not declare his assets and liabilities in nomination papers for contesting the elections as is required under the Representation of Peoples Act, 1976.
Raising objections to the authenticity of documents submitted by Imran Khan, Akram Sheikh said inadmissible evidence has been presented before the court. He said there are also no solid proofs as to any of the respondent’s financial transactions.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that a discrepancy exists between documents submitted by the PTI chairman earlier and now.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the CJP noted that payment of $126,000 from Imran’s ex-wife Jemima was still not accounted for. “Why did Imran not disclose his London flat in 1997 nomination papers as this is very important in view of the recent judgment passed in the Panamagate case,” Justice Nisar wondered.
The bench noted that no authentic documents were produced by the PTI leader to prove his money trail, terming the money trail chart submitted by Imran’s counsel as ‘self-prepared’.
The apex court further observed that no record was available on how Imran Khan returned money to his former wife after the sale of his London apartment. “Why did Jemima not transfer the money directly to Imran’s account?” the court questioned.
The bench went on to ask Bukhari why the PTI chairman had changed his stance regarding the purchase of the Bani Gala land before the top court. It further questioned why Imran did not disclose the money which he had borrowed from his wife to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Later, the bench sought complete account details of the PTI chief’s offshore company within 10 days and adjourned the hearing until September 26. The PTI’s attorney has already concluded his arguments in the case.