ISLAMABAD: Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) Buland Akhtar Rana has been summoned by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to appear before it on November 27 in connection with allegations of corruption brought against him by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The National Assembly had filed a complaint after a recommendation by the sub-committee of the PAC calling for the disqualification of Rana as auditor general.
For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a complaint has been filed in the SJC seeking the disqualification of the AGP.
The SJC had issued a show cause notice to AGP to file a reply within 14 days on allegations of corruption against him by PAC. The council had then examined the AGP's reply on November 17 and decided to summon him on the next date of hearing.
The sub-committee, formed by the PAC in August, had probe corruption allegations against Rana and discovered that there was truth to the allegations and recommended that a reference be filed for his disqualification under the Article 209 (5) and Article 168 (5) of the Constitution.
The fact-finding report presented in the National Assembly on August 11 by PAC Chairman Khursheed Shah revealed that the AGP had withdrawn Rs4.62 million from the exchequer on account of excess salary and privileges in violation of standard rules and regulations.
The report further added that Rana was getting 20 per cent additional salary compared to a Grade 22 officer, and under the monetisation policy, he availed more than Rs3.1 million between January and March 2014.
The matters of revised pay slip and provisional payments to the AGP were deliberately kept hidden for attaining particular financial benefits, the fact-finding report alleges.
The committee also recommended recovering an amount of Rs4.62 million from Rana.
The fact finding report also said that during the course of proceedings of the committee, several complaints were received in the PAC wing against the AGP regarding Rana’s Canadian nationality and passport without obtaining prior approval of the government; foreign visits without lawful permissions; possession of four different passports: three Pakistani and one Canadian, and availing long periods of leave to complete the residence requirements in Canada for immigration purposes and other alleged abuses of power.
However, after the inquiry, Rana challenged the authority of Parliament, thus refusing to attend the PAC meetings. He even restricted its staff to attend the meetings of Parliament’s Oversight Committee of Accountability.
Supreme Judicial Council
In view of the Article 209 of the Constitution, the SJC comprises of the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP), two senior most judges of the Supreme Court, and two most senior chief justices of high courts.
The main function of the council is to hear the complaints against superior court judges, as well as other top government functionaries such as the NAB chairman, members of Election Commission of Pakistan, AGP etc. The proceedings of the SJC remain in-camera, whereas the SC registrar performs the function of secretary to the Council.
The last time the council met was during the proceedings against former CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary; however, a larger bench of the apex court was later constituted to hear the reference filed against him by the PML-Q led federal government.
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