SHC tells NAB director to explain his false statements in writing

Three show-cause notices were issued to NAB officials on their inability to satisfy court


Our Correspondent March 22, 2019
Sindh High Court. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued show cause-notice to NAB Director Javed Ali on Thursday for giving false statements related to the illegal allotment of land in Scheme 33. A two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh and comprising Justice Omar Sial, was hearing the plea in which the CJ asked the director to explain his statements.

The petition was filed by builder Syed Farrukh Mateen against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) inquiry related to the illegal allotment of land. The CJ inquired from the NAB Director if he had sent the draft notice. The director responded that the draft reference had been sent in 2016. "This petition was filed in 2015 and you are saying that the inquiry was started in 2016," the CJ remarked.

The CJ, expressing extreme annoyance with the NAB director for not producing the draft reference and lying about it, asked him whether he was superior to the law that he could lie before the court. He added that the director must submit written explanations for his false statements. Refusing to accept the director's apology as he could not satisfy the court with his explanations related to different inquiries, the court issued him a show-cause notice. The court also issued a show-cause notice to NAB director Tariq Hameed Butt and asked the officials to submit written responses in court by the next hearing.

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According to NAB, the petitioner was accused of making illegal allotment of five acres of land in Scheme 33. The court had extended the interim bail of the accused for two weeks.

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The same bench restricted NAB's investigation officer Pir Khaleeq on Thursday from carrying out the investigation into the illegal allotment of thousands of acres of Sindh forest department land. The CJ summoned the NAB director-general (DG) for personal appearance in court on April 14.

The bail plea was filed by Chief Conservator Aijaz Ahmed Nizamani. The petitioner's counsel argued that the investigations were going on against the investigation officer Pir Khaleeq himself, who is involved in this investigation. The CJ remarked how this could be possible that the one against whom a complaint was filed was investigating someone else. The CJ asked the NAB director in court how the officer could investigate another case. "There is no explanation left for such steps taken by NAB as nobody can understand what is happening inside NAB. The case officer should be removed from the case immediately."

The CJ, expressing extreme annoyance with the NAB officials, asked them to go out of the courtroom if they couldn't satisfy the court with their answers. Justice Sheikh added that the NAB DG is summoned to court to explain why his officers don't know anything.

Case transfer

The same bench issued notices on Thursday to the NAB director-general on two pleas against the banking court's verdict that transferred the money laundering case to Rawalpindi.

The pleas were filed by Shaukat Hayat, counsel for Hussain Lawai, a close aide to former president Asif Ali Zardari, and Taha Raza. The court issued notices to respondents for the next hearing on March 26.

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The bench also announced that all pleas against the transfer of money laundering case to Rawalpindi will be collectively heard. Lawai stated that all accused and witnesses of the case belong to Karachi, hence they will be affected due to the transfer of the case.

He added that the NAB was misinterpreting the Supreme Court's verdict as there was no justification to transfer the case to Rawalpindi.

Further annoyance

The same bench issued another show-cause notice to a NAB director for being unable to satisfy the court regarding the issue of government employees running a private company. The CJ was annoyed at the NAB's investigations and asked how this case was an issue of NAB.

The investigation officer informed him that former DG Altaf Bawani started the inquiry, on which the CJ bashed director Tariq Hameed present in court saying that this mess was created since the time of former DG.

The court inquired whether the case was an issue of NAB, if there was any illegal affair involved and whether any loss to the national exchequer was caused, and adjourned the hearing.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2019.

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