British Forensic Audit: Nawaz Sharif Family Owns Assets Worth $820.8 Million
Forensic audit of Nawaz Sharif family's assets has put its value at $820.8 Million, according to Broadsheet Award ordered by arbitrator Sir Anthony Evans. It was disclosed in documents released by Broadsheet LLC and Pakistan government. The forensic audit was conducted by Stroz Friedberg audit firm based in the United Kingdom. It was hired by Facebook to conduct forensic audit of Cambridge Analytica, the analytics firm used by US President Donald Trump during the 2016 election.
|Broadsheet Arbitration Award|
Broadsheet LLC, incorporated in the Isle of Mann, was hired by Pakistan National Accountability Bureau (Bureau) in Year 2000 to uncover overseas assets hidden by over 200 Pakistanis including former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family. Pakistan was forced to go into arbitration for breach of contract with the firm. Here are the key excerpts of the final award dated December 17, 2018:
"Stroz Friedberg was instructed to carry out a ‘forensic audit’ (or ‘inventory’) of the (Pakistan) JIT Report. This consisted of identifying potentially recoverable assets of the Sharif Family that were referred to in it and ascribing a valuation to each. This resulted in a list of 76 items of property in three overseas jurisdictions, namely, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the United Kingdom, as well as in Pakistan, with total values that were corrected in the Revised SF Report to take account of Mr. Bezant’s comments on it. The revised total was US$820.8 million. The third instruction was “to apply the 20% rate due Broadsheet as outlined in the ARA” – a mechanical application of the 20% rate provided four in the ARA clause 4 – which resulted in a total ‘Loss of Revenue’ for Broadsheet of US$164.2 million. The fourth was to establish a ‘borrowing rate of interest’ for each of the 76 items of loss and to apply it from what they considered was the appropriate date. The interest calculation increased the total of ‘Broadsheet’s Entitlement’ to US$304.6 million".
"The 2017/8 proceedings, however, in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, including the JIT Investigation and Report, have produced a very different situation where (subject to pending appeals) there is an authoritative listing of personal and family assets totalling (as corrected) US$820 million, both in Pakistan and abroad, and where certain real property in the United Kingdom valued at US$13 million (“the Avenfield flats”) has been forfeited to the Pakistan State as having been acquired with corrupt assets. These call for separate consideration in this Award".
"As stated above, the total value of assets both in Pakistan and overseas listed by the JIT is agreed by the expert witnesses as US$820 million. Whilst accepting that this figure must be discounted to take account of many factors, not least the costs of recovery etc., Claimant’s representatives have put it forward as what might be called the gross amount of possible recoveries by NAB for the purpose of calculating Broadsheet’s potential entitlement to 20 per cent, under the ARA Clause 4".
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Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said corruption was not the primary reason holding back Pakistan’s economic development, claiming that there were examples of countries that managed to progress despite similar levels of corruption.
The PML-N leader indicated that the far bigger impediments to Pakistan’s growth were “political instability and policy reversals” as opposed to corruption.
Addressing a seminar in Islamabad, he said: “The biggest lesson today is that I can count many countries in the world that have developed despite having similar corruption as ours but you can’t point out a single country that has progressed despite political instability and discontinuity of policy.”
Iqbal quoted the examples of Bangladesh and India, which he said have managed to grow even though their corruption problem was just as severe as Pakistan’s.
He said there was a “structural problem” that wasn’t allowing Pakistan to take off, as he stressed that reforms would require “at least a decade” to truly work. If there was not a continuation in direction for 10 years then no good measure would yield results, he added.
“We have failed to give continuation to policies in this country and a big reason for that is our internal political situation.”
Iqbal said that economic growth in Pakistan required strong fiscal discipline and economic management.
“We have to move towards export-led growth,” he said, adding that Pakistan was lagging behind others in the region as its tax-to-GDP ratio had never been above 12 per cent.
He lamented that Pakistan was also lagging behind in exports compared to others in its region.
The planning minister said that present foreign direct investment stood at a mere $1.5 billion while in Vietnam it was $30bn.
Furthermore, he pointed out that Pakistan’s savings to investment ratio was very low.
Iqbal said that Pakistan had not paid attention to its human resource development, and the dream of economic development could not be fulfilled with inadequate education levels.
“We have to make our youth skilled and educated. Because of the CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) project, we got the attention of the world. The world wanted to invest here,” he said.
The planning minister said that in order to balance its annual budget, Pakistan would have to move towards export-led growth so that the economy could become sustainable and inclusive.