ISLAMABAD Oct 3,2021- The amendments in NAB laws will be finalized by next week, which will address not only the issue of allowing the incumbent NAB chairman to continue in office, reported noted journalist Ansar Abbasi in a leading daily.
There will be a news for the bureaucrats, businessmen and politicians in the new ordinance as the PTI government is seriously considering restricting the powers of the NAB chairman to arrest any accused without any limitation.
Informed sources said that due to short of time in the ordinance, Javed Iqbal will be allowed to work till the appointment new chairman.
However, Prime Minister Imran Khan will consult the Leader of the Opposition on whether to appoint a new chairman or extend the incumbent one.
Sources said that it was agreed in the meeting with the Prime Minister that he would consult the Leader of the Opposition in accordance with the law despite the fact Shehbaz Sharif is facing corruption cases, but he is not proved guilty.
Therefore, the government has distanced itself from its policy which said that Shehbaz Sharif would not be consulted as he was facing NAB cases.
Sources said that the draft ordinance would not only address the issue of the incumbent chairman but also make major changes to improve the accountability system. The discretionary power of the chairman to arrest any accused without restraint will be abolished.
Prosecutor General empowered
Sources said that in order to prevent misuse of powers, it is proposed that the Prosecutor General be made independent and if the NAB wants to make any arrest, it will be only when the Chairman and the Prosecutor General agreed. Unlike in the past, the issue of arrest will not be purely at the discretion of the chairman. If an accused is arrested, the reasons will have to be stated in writing in the file. It is said that if the NAB wants to interrogate an accused, the agency will be encouraged to name the accused on the ECL.
Both the Chairman NAB and the Prosecutor General will have to work together to ensure that if the accused is not able to leave the country and has cooperated in the investigation, then why to arrest him. The proposed amendments also agreed that the NAB would be prevented from intimidating and harassing public officials, including cases involving bureaucrats and politicians in which decisions were made in a joint forum rather than individually.
Matters of business people
The matters of business people will be outside the jurisdiction of NAB.
The FBR and FIA will be mandated to deal with business people, whether it is tax matters, money laundering or any other wrongdoing.
To protect the bureaucracy, government employees and public officials (politicians) from the notorious harassment of the NAB, the institution will be prevented from violating the rules and interfering in matters made in good faith. The NAB will only be allowed to investigate cases in which it has solid evidence of bribery commissions or kickbacks against a bureaucrat or public official.
According to sources, the independence of the Prosecutor General will also help prevent the misuse of powers of the Chairman NAB and his DGs. Government legal experts disagree on the removal of the chairman and the prosecutor general.
Some are of the opinion that it should be clearly included in the law that in case of misconduct, in case of complaint against the Chairman or the Prosecutor General, the matter should be referred to the Supreme Judicial Council. But others are of the opinion that the Supreme Judicial Council need not be mentioned, leaving the matter unclear.