By Abdul Moiz Jaferii
You will find lawyers on both sides of the divide with regard to whether it was in the greater interests of justice to disqualify Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on definite evidence of a technicality but with a mountain of circumstantial evidence awaiting trial.
It is in my opinion, however, erroneous to call that technicality an incorrect reading of the law. This is why: The Supreme Court disqualified the prime minister on “unwithdrawn receivables”.
This is not the same as being owed money which is being argued by some. If it were, they would be correct in saying that the acceptable individual accounting method is at receipt whilst corporations account using the accrual method.
It is incorrect because between being owed money as a lawyer or a professional and receiving it there lies the intent of the client to pay; his ability to pay and then his actual act of delivering payment. Before these three, you cannot call the money your own and so you don’t bank it in your records.
Over here the money was statutorily mandated to be paid. It had been severed from the company’s accounts as per Emirati salary laws. It had not been transferred to an account simply because a personal account for Nawaz Sharif had not been provided.
The only difference between it being in his pocket or with the company was that it wasn’t taken by him that would be an asset in the view of the apex court, and ought to have been declared.
Whether it is of material effect, I think so. Not because of the amount at play; but because it would have revealed an out of Pakistan company. The audit of which would have revealed other companies and remittances.
The Supreme Court caught the horse’s tail, but make no mistake, there was a horse making a run for it.
The writer is a lawyer and hosts Agenda 360 for SAMAA. He tweets at @jaferii
Story first published: 29th July 2017