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Saturday, June 8, 2024

After amendment, NAB deciding which cases to close

NAB now reviewing cases to decide which ones to pursue and which ones to close as per the amendment is a major development. Pertinent to mention, NAB had leveled charges of corruption against several political figures

Following the promulgation of the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act 2022, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will now decide which cases to pursue, and which to close.

According to the details, NAB issued a letter to its regional offices, asking them to review all pending inquiries, investigations, and cases. NAB has demanded that the regional offices send recommendations to the headquarters by August 26.

Read more: PTI Government rejects opposition’s proposed amendments to NAB Law

“Pursuant to the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act, 2022, the competent authority has desired to review all under-process inquiries, investigations, and sub-judice cases and forward its recommendations to NAB HQ by 26.08.2022,” the NAB letter said.

Reacting to the development, prominent lawyer Muhammad Ahmad Pansota called the move by NAB “NRO” (National Reconciliation Ordinance).

“NRO that people of Pakistan were fearing is finally here,” Barrister Pansota said.

NAB law amendment

Earlier this month, the National Assembly passed the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act, 2022 with a majority vote, amending the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 (NAO).

Under the new amendments, the offense of corruption and corrupt practices as per the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999, will be tied to the value of Rs500m. To clarify, NAB will have no jurisdiction to proceed in corruption cases involving less than Rs500 million. The bill also strips the president of his authority to appoint judges of accountability courts in consultation with high court chief justices.

Therefore, NAB now reviewing cases to decide which ones to pursue and which ones to close as per the amendment is a major development. Pertinent to mention, NAB had leveled charges of corruption against several political figures, for instance, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been accused of misappropriating Rs4.5 million during his tenure as the Punjab Chief Minister.

Read more: Mazhar Abbas slams government for NAB amendment

Similarly, PML-N leaders Javed Latif and Chaudhry Barjees Tahir were also questioned by NAB in connection with assets beyond means cases. Javed Latif is blamed for accumulating assets worth Rs500 million while Barjees Tahir is accused of having assets worth Rs300 million.

As a result, the NAB amendment came under much criticism, especially by PTI, since it weakens the institution and basically ends accountability. PTI has even challenged the bill in the Supreme Court.