Graft case against President Zardari cannot be reopened: Swiss officials

Islamabad, June 18, 2013 (PPI-OT): Pakistan’s Ambassador in Switzerland sent fax dated 18th June. 2013 addressed to the Secretary, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs forwarding letter dated 13th June, 2013 alongwith enclosures received from Mr. Nicolas Jeandin of the law firm fontanetassocies Geneva, conveying decisions of the Attorney General Geneva (with English translation) relating to the SGS/Cotechna money laundering case.

The decision of the Attorney General, Geneva is dated 4th Feb. 2013. After describing the facts relating to the case, it states that the Public Ministry of Geneva has decided not to review the closure order dated 25th August 2008 on the ground that the statutory limitation period of fifteen years has expired; no new evidence or facts have been revealed; and the Republic of Pakistan procedures constitute an “abuse of power” inasmuch as it is “demanding resumption of the criminal procedure P/11105/1997while maintaining that such resumption could not take place.” Annex attached to the decision mentions that an appeal can be filed before the Criminal Appeal Court within ten days.

As relevant files relating directly to the subject are presently not traceable in the Law and Justice Division, our Ambassador in Switzerland was requested to send us by fax copies of all correspondence available with him. Perusal of this correspondence reveals the following:-

(1) The Ambassador of Pakistan was sent letter dated 5th November 2012 from Secretary Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (L,J and PA) addressed to the Attorney General Geneva alongwith Para- 178 of the judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Dr. Mubasshar Hassan’s case (PLD 2010 SC 265) with the direction that this should be delivered to the Attorney General either directly or through his representative, and receipt obtained for submission to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Vide a second letter of the same dated, i.e. 5th November 2012 the Ambassador was authorized by the Secretary L,J and PA to engage Dr. Nicolas Jeandin, Avocat Geneva, as his representative/Advocate to appear before Attorney General Geneva on behalf of the Government of Pakistan . Power of Attorney signed by the Secretary in favour of Dr. Jeandin was also sent to him.

Vide letter dated 11th November 2012 the Ambassador of Pakistan in Geneva forwarded to the Secretary L,J and PA copy of letter dated 9th November, 2012 addressed to the Attorney General Geneva by Mr. Nicolas Jeandin, whereby he had submitted the power of attorney and letter dated 5th November, 2012.

Vide letter dated 22nd November, 2012 the Secretary asked the Ambassador of Pakistan to deliver to Dr. Nicolas Jeandin detailed letter of the same date wherein he was instructed to explain to the Attorney General Geneva “the position of the Government of Pakistan” to the effect inter-alia that:

The requests for mutual legal assistance made earlier in 1997 were “illegal and have no legal effect and are hereby withdrawn by Government of Pakistan and may be treated as never have been written “;

The order of closing of the case by the former Attorney General on 25th August 2008 had attained finality and under Swiss law can not be reopened;

Since no criminal proceedings are pending in Switzerland, there are “legal constraints and bar” to the revival of status of Government of Pakistan as civil party;

Mutual assistance was never lawfully sought and in any event necessary documents and evidence have been transmitted by the Swiss authorities to the Government of Pakistan, and the legal assistance requested in 1997 has been completely executed;

The Accountability Courts in Pakistan have acquitted the main accused Mr. A.R. Siddiqui, and have accepted that Mr. Asif Ali Zardari enjoys complete and absolute immunity under Article 248 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 and that even otherwise he has not done any wrong doing or committed any act of corruption and corrupt practices. Consequently as no crime has been committed in Pakistan, the alleged offence of money laundering under Swiss law does not seem to be applicable or attracted. The letter requests for official confirmation about the inability of the Swiss authorities to revive Government of Pakistan’s status as civil party, mutual assistance and alleged claims, thus bringing to an end the matters/issues that had arisen and initiated in 1997.

In view of the foregoing Government of Pakistan would understand and appreciate to receive official confirmation about the inability of the Swiss authorities to revive Government of Pakistan’s status as civil party, mutual assistance and alleged claims.

This finally brings to an end the matters/issues that had arisen and initiated in 1997.

Our Ambassador in Switzerland has been requested to immediately obtain from Dr. Nicolas Jeandin the letter dated 11th December, 2012 addressed by him to the Public Ministry Geneva (mentioned in the decision dated 4th February, 2013) whereby he has “specified that the step taken by Government of Pakistan on injunction of the Supreme Court was essentially a political one” and “in the eyes of the Republic of Pakistan the criminal procedure P/1105/1997 had been definitively closed and could not be reopened, both because the facts to which it referred were subject to the statute of the limitation and because no new fact could justify a review of the closure order of 25th August 2008”. The Ambassador has also been asked to obtain copies of all correspondence addressed by Mr. Nicolas Jeandin with the Government of Pakistan, including correspondence referred to in his letter dated 13th June, 2013.

The matter will be examined in detail in consultation with the Attorney General of Pakistan immediately on receipt of the documents referred to above to determine future course of action.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326