Court resumes hearing presidential reference against judge
Serena Isa, the wife of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, revealed on Thursday the details of her London properties to the Supreme Court while recording her statement on a video link.
Earlier in the day, the court had allowed her to record her statement online in a presidential reference against her husband. Justice Isa has been accused of misconduct over failure to declare his wife and children’s UK properties. According to the judge, his wife and children, have on their names three properties in the W2, E10 and E11 areas of London.
“I faced many difficulties to get the record of these three properties in my name,” she told the court. The properties were purchased between 2003 to 2013 and banks don’t keep records of more than 10 years.
She revealed that she bought one property for £23,600 in 2004, another for £270,000, which is under her and her daughter’s name, and the third one for £245,000 in 2013. Her son lives in one of the properties and has put the other two on rent.
The money for the purchase was sent from her foreign currency bank account to London. The money was transferred to an account which is only in my name, she added.
Serena Isa shared that she married the judge on December 25, 1980. “My mother is Spanish and I have a Spanish passport too,” she added.
The court has summoned their tax record for 2018 in a sealed envelope.
Justice Umar Atta Bandial, the presiding judge, remarked that she seems to have the record of her properties. We, however, can’t review its merit and said that it can be verified by either the FBR or Supreme Judicial Council. He remarked that the judge’s wife also has enough assets to buy the three properties.
During the hearing, Serena Isa shared that the FBR has not responded to her complaints. She said that she was working for an American school in Karachi when she started filing her tax. The record was, however, transferred from Karachi to Islamabad. “I asked the FBR about my record being transferred but didn’t get any reply.”
She even said that she was issued a visa for five years when her husband wasn’t a judge. In 2020, my visa was extended for a year, she added.
“Your records and money trails seems trustable,” remarked Justice Bandial, adding that the judges should be held accountable too. They are answerable about their personal and public lives.
The State Bank has all my relevant details, she said.
Justice Maqbool Baqar asked if the Supreme Justice Council can review the performance of the president. To which, government’s lawyer Farogh Naseem said that the council has the authority to review anyone’s performance.
The case has been adjourned till June 19.
Justice Isa, who is in line to become the chief justice of Pakistan, has accused in a petition the PTI government of spying on him to discover his family’s properties.
On June 2, 2019 the government confirmed that a presidential reference had been filed in the Supreme Judicial Council against the judge for owning foreign assets.
A statement was issued by the law and justice ministry and the assets recovery unit at the prime minister’s office. The unit receives complains with regard to existence of properties of Pakistanis abroad and is “duty bound to take appropriate action” once it receives a complaint. It received a complaint with respect to the foreign properties of three judges.