Blessing in disguise: Ruling elite major beneficiary of NAB law tweaks

Graft buster submits report in SC hearing PTI chief plea against amendments


Hasnaat Malik November 29, 2022

ISLAMABAD:

The amendments made to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 2000 by the PML-N-led coalition government have ended up benefitting over 90 per cent of cases, including high-profile ones, that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was dealing with — whether at the inquiry, investigation or trial stage -- reveals a report submitted by the graft buster to the Supreme Court.

NAB has submitted the report to the apex court pertaining to the details of cases of public office-holders, including political leaders, which will be affected under the new amendments in the NAB law.

A three-judge special bench of the apex court led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial is hearing PTI Chairman Imran Khan's application challenging the amendments to the NAB Ordinance.

According to the report, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is the major beneficiary of the amendments among other leaders of all major political parties, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Even senior federal ministers will benefit from the changes.

The leaders include Mian Nawaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, Molana Fazlur Rehman, Maryam Nawaz, Faryal Talpur, Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Rana Sanaullah, Javed Lateef, Makhdoom Khosro Bakhtiar, Amir Mehmood Kayani, Akram Durani , Saleem Mandiwala, Noor Alam Khan, Nawab Aslam Riasani, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Barjees Tahir, Nawab Ali Wasan, Sharjeel Inaam Memom, Anwarul Haq Kakar, Liaqat Jatoi, Amir Maqam , Goram Bugti, Jaffer Khan Mandokhel, G-B Governor Syed Mehdi Shah.

NAB, while giving details of PM Shehbaz's cases, informed the Supreme Court that the case regarding misuse of illegal allotment of 1,400 kanal of the government land near Lal Suhanra National Park would be affected by recent amendment as the amount involved in this matter is less than Rs500 million.

Similarly, another matter regarding the misuse of authority against the prime minister and others will be affected as the amount involved in this alleged scam is less than Rs 500 million.

Thirdly, the inquiry against Shehbaz Sharif and others regarding the illegal use of the prime minister jet from 2014 to 2018 would also be affected under Section 5 (o) of the NAB Amendment Act 2022.

Moreover, the investigation against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar regarding the illegal appointment of the ZTBL CEO in violation of the Nationalisation Act 1974 would be affected.

The investigation against Federal Minister Railways will also be closed under sections 4 (2)(b)(d)(e) and 9(a) (vi) of the NAB law.

NAB has also informed the Supreme Court that an inquiry against PTI leader Shaukat Ali Yousafzai in the alleged misuse of authority as the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa information minister would be affected as the amount involved in this scam is less than Rs500 million.

Similarly, an inquiry against the PTI active member and former health minister Amir Kayani regarding the misuse of the authority and obtaining of pecuniary advantage through dishonest and illegal means while framing the Drug Pricing Policy would be affected under Section 4(2)(a) of the National Accountability Amendment Act 2022.

NAB has also informed that the inquiry against former PTI federal minister Khosro Bakhtiar, Makhdom Hasham Khan Bakht, and other family members on the offence of accumulation of assets would be affected under the 1st amendment in Section 4(2)(c ).

The inquiry on the offence of assets beyond known sources of income against PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, and his sister Faryal Talpur is affected under Section 4(2) (a) of the National Accountability Act 2022.

The inquiry against JUIF Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman will be closed as the property in the case in the name of the accused person is of nominal amount and linkage of benamidars in light of the new amendment act is very difficult.

NAB has also informed the Supreme Court that the inquiry against Public Accounts Committee Chairman Noor Alam in the assets beyond means case would be affected as the amount in the case is less than Rs500 million.

In compliance with the apex court order, NAB has submitted the list of all corruption cases which would be affected under new amendments in NAB law.

According to the report, 755 cases at the inquiry stage as well as 292 cases at the investigation state would be affected under the new NAB amendments.

Out of them, 510 cases are those where the amount involved is less than Rs500 million and they will be affected by an amendment in Section 5(o) of the NAO 1999 through Section 3 of the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act 2022.

Some 168 cases relate to the offence of assets beyond means under Section 9(a)(v) while some 213 cases relate to the charge of assets beyond means under Section 9(a)(vi) that will be affected under new amendments in NAB law. Similarly, 89 cases are related to cheating will be affected.

Moreover, NAB informed the Supreme Court that the inquiry against Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on the allegation that he got approved Kent Housing Society and obtained occupied land of private individuals, and cheated members of the general public by misusing his authority will be affected under recent amendments in the NAB law.

The investigation against former MPA Abdul Aleem Khan on the charge that during years 2002 to 2018, he acquired assets, which have been found to be disproportionate to his known sources of income to the tune of Rs1.4 billion will be affected.

The investigation against the Chaudhry Sugar Mill owned by the Sharif family, including Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, will be affected.

The investigation against Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on the charge of assets beyond known sources and assets in the name of benamidars amounting to Rs95 million, and illegal gains amounting to Rs100 million will be affected under the new NAB law.

A total of six cases against Nawaz Sharif will be affected in view of the recent amendments in the NAB law. The inquiry against Transparency International of Pakistan chairman Syed Adil Gilani will also be affected.

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