NAB's performance irks SHC

Published: June 15, 2017
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Sindh High Court. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Sindh High Court. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued on Wednesday a show-cause notice to the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) director of investigations for alleged harassment in a dispute related to personal property.

SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, who headed the two-judge bench, directed the officer to personally appear in court with an explanation on his authority to investigate personal matters.

The petitioner, Asghar Ali, had approached the court, alleging that NAB had issued him a call-up notice to appear in connection with an inquiry involving a property dispute between him and his brother.

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Ali alleged that after issuing a call-up notice, NAB officers also raided his house and harassed him and his family members. The NAB raiding team members also took away household articles, he added.

His lawyer argued that the NAB officials were overstepping their limits, as the provisions of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 do not authorise the bureau to intervene in personal disputes.
CJ Sheikh inquired from the NAB prosecutor and investigation officer as to how the bureau could investigate matters involving personal disputes. However, they were unable to give a satisfactory answer.

The top judge observed that it seemed that the national anti-graft watchdog officers were issuing call-up notices to citizens without any legal justification. He remarked that NAB seemed to be taking poor citizens hostage instead of going after the big fish.

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Taking notice of the officials’ attitude, the bench issued a show-cause notice to the NAB director of investigations to personally appear in court with a written explanation on the matter. The hearing was fixed for June 30.

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Meanwhile, the same bench expressed its displeasure over the absence of the accused, including a former bureaucrat and senior police officers during the hearing of their bail applications granted to them in connection with corruption inquiries initiated against them by NAB.

The former secretary of the excise and taxation department, Badar Jamil Mendhro, had earlier obtained pre-arrest bail in connection with an inquiry into the alleged illegal sale of lands belonging to the women development department at throwaway rates.

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His lawyer, Shaukat Hayat, informed the court that the applicant was out of the city. However, as a last chance, the judges extended Mendhro’s bail till June 22 with a warning that his bail would be cancelled if he failed to appear on the next hearing.

NAB alleged that Mendhro was involved in the illegal sale of land, which caused huge losses to the national exchequer.

Meanwhile, the same bench also threatened to cancel pre-arrest bail granted to the former additional inspector-general of finance, Fida Hussain, former additional IG of logistics, Tanveer Ahmed Tahir, and other police officers facing a NAB inquiry relating to corruption of Rs50 million.

They were ordered to appear in court on June 19.

NAB alleged both the senior police officers were involved in corruption of Rs50 million in the head of fuel for official vehicles, which was never provided to them. However, amount was embezzled by being transferred to the bank account of a head constable, Muhammad Rafique.

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