SC seeks ‘verified’ record of Bani Gala transactions

SC seeks ‘verified’ record of Bani Gala transactions

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to submit complete and verified record of transactions that took place between him and his spouse Jemima for purchase of ‘Bani Gala Estate’.

A three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab ordered this while hearing a petition filed by PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi seeking disqualification of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Secretary General Jahangir Tareen for non-disclosure of their assets, ownership of offshore companies and for PTI allegedly being a foreign-aided party.

At the outset of the hearing, the chief justice asked whether the counsel had submitted PTI chairman’s complete financial record to the court. He pointed out that the PTI chief had not attached details of the money trail for the purchase of Bani Gala property.

Naeem Bukhari, counsel for Imran Khan, informed the court that he had submitted his reply following the court orders. The chief justice remarked that missing financial details of Imran’s Bani Gala property had yet to be submitted. “Where are the transactions’ receipts which prove that the PTI chief borrowed money from his spouse Jemima and returned it to her later?”

The chief justice asked and wondered how Imran could buy the property in Jemima's name for which he had asked her for a loan.

He said Imran's reply does not include details of how the property was purchased in Jemima's name. "You need to satisfy the court regarding the 160,000 pounds," the chief justice asked Bukhari.

The chief justice while recalling his earlier observations 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, since it was a liability.

To a court query that why Jemima sent money through Rashid Khan instead of transferring it directly to Imran Khan, Naeem Bukhari contended that Rashid Khan, who was a mutual friend of Imran Khan and Jemima, was an employee of the CitiBank at that time and he converted the currency before passing it on to the PTI chief. He said $285,000 were transferred to Rashid's account.

To another court query about the money trail of $126,000 which is allegedly missing, Bukhari said the records of $16,000 and $5,000 transactions, which took place between Jemima and Rashid Khan, were available and sought a day's time to submit them. He admitted that the record of $100,000 could not be found despite efforts.

He again stated that his client had submitted all documents as per instructions of the court, including the details of the Bani Gala property. The chief justice then noted that the documents submitted were photocopies, thus not acceptable.

In response to a query by the chief justice, Bukhari replied that the 2002 nomination papers of Imran state that the Bani Gala estate is under Jemima's name. Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that a discrepancy existed between documents submitted by the PTI chairman earlier and now.

He pointed out that the copies of documents submitted by PTI chairman were unverified, thus can't be acceptable. Bukhari assured the bench that he will try his best to satisfy the court.

Akram Sheikh, senior counsel for Hanif Abbasi, raised doubts over the authenticity of the money trail sent by Jemima in June.

The court adjourned further hearing until September 26 directing Naeem Bukhari to submit additional documents sought by the court.



Published in Daily Times, September 13th 2017.