NAB wings clipped as it won’t be able to probe cases under Rs 500 million

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NAB

Islamabad: The National Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill that appeared to be aiming at clipping the wings of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as the bureau will not be able to probe into cases that involve charges less than Rs 500 million.

Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan presented the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act, 2022, in the lower house to further amend the law regulating the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Even though there was a thin presence in the lower house, none of the opposition members pointed out a lack of quorum. They protested the absence of ministers concerned from the assembly.

After the bill was tabled, the scheduled question hour was bypassed, and the bill was accepted.

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Under the new bill – National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022 – corruption cases amounting to less than Rs 500 million will not come under the purview of the NAB.

It also proposed that only the federal government, and not President, will have the right to power to appoint judges of accountability courts. The federal government would discuss with the Chief Justice of the relevant High Court while appointing an accountability judge.

It also said that a judge should not ordinarily be removed or transferred by the Federal Government from his office before the completion of his term, “except after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned”.

Per the bill, the service tenure of NAB’s prosecutor general can be extended by three years.

“Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, an accused shall be tried for an offence under this Ordinance [National Accountability Ordinance, 1999] in the Court in whose territorial jurisdiction the offence is alleged to have been committed: Provided that NAB shall file the reference after the investigation is fully completed, which shall be treated as the final reference, and no supplementary reference shall be filed thereafter unless investigation reveals new facts and with the permission of the Court,” amendment to section 16 read.

Read: NAB law amended to promote transparency, run affairs smoothly: Ahsan

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