Auditing PTI’s accounts: ‘ECP neither a tribunal nor a court’

Opposition party’s lawyer concludes arguments before IHC, contends ECP does not have authority to adjudicate matter.


Rizwan Shehzad February 15, 2017
PTI Chairman Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: A counsel for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan concluded his arguments before the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday after the part had challenged orders from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) directing examination of PTI’s accounts.

The party had been accused of receiving illegal foreign funds.

PTI chairman’s counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan appeared before a division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi and Justice Aamer Farooq.

Mansoor contended that the ECP had no jurisdiction to order an examination of past and closed transactions on a private complaint.

He challenged ECP’s decision of scrutiny of records, arguing that the ECP does not have any authority to adjudicate the matter of disputed facts and complaints raised under the Political Parties Order (PPO), 2002. Assuming jurisdiction is in violation of laws, he added.

“ECP is neither a tribunal nor a court,” he said.

The counsel argued that the objections were left undecided and the commission took notice of the case without first settling the issue of maintainability.

Mansoor contended that nowhere in the law was the ECP mandated to scrutinise accounts. He added that only a chartered accountant can give a true picture of the accounts. If such an accountant fails to do so, a process exists to make him accountable. The process, Mansoor said, was not followed.

He further argued that apart from PTI, the poll supervisory body was not looking into the accounts of any other party, despite the fact that auditors had raised objections while preparing audit reports of different parties.

Akbar Sher Babar, an estranged PTI founding member who developed differences with party chief Imran Khan over internal corruption and alleged violations of laws to maintain its accounts, had filed a petition before ECP in November 2015.

Baber had sought details of accounts, money transferred from abroad including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and United Arab Emirates to PTI accounts or to the accounts of the party’s employees since July 2010 to date.

However, Mansoor contended in his petition that Baber does not have a locus standi on the matter to approach the ECP with a complaint under the PPO, 2002.

The polls supervisory body was acting in excess of power without statutory competence, the lawyer argued.

Mansoor further said that the ECP was acting in violation of a Supreme Court decision in opening past and closed transactions. He further argued that PPO 2002 does not provide a frame work of a tribunal for adjudication of complaints and scrutiny of accounts.

In the petition, he prayed the court to declare that the accounts submitted by the petitioner are past and closed transactions and that Babar has no locus standi to approach the ECP under Article 6 of the PPO, 2002.

Previously, the bench had clarified that it will not resolve the issue if the PTI was foreign aided or not rather it would limit the case to the petition, jurisdiction and procedural powers of the ECP.

After Mansoor completed his arguments, the case was adjourned till February 15 (today).

Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2017.

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