NAB facilitating corruption: SC
Top court says NAB taking undue advantage of voluntary return provision * Asks govt to explain whether NAB and FIA’s Anti-Corruption Wing share same powers
By: Syed Sabeeh ul Hussnai ISLAMABAD: He said this while hearing the NAB law on voluntary return of money case. A two-member bench led by Justice Amir Hani Muslim and comprised of Justice Azmat Saeed was hearing the case. NAB Prosecutor General Waqas Qadeer Dar, Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf, Asma Jahangir, Aitzaz Ahsan and Khawaja Azhar Rasheed represented their applicants.Supreme Court Justice Azmat Saeed on Monday said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has become a facilitator of the corrupt.
He added, “A naib qasid is sent to jail for taking bribe amounting to Rs 250. One who takes bribe amounting to Rs 25 million is let off. NAB has become facilitator of those who are committing corruption. Why the NAB does not get give advertisement in the newspapers as “corruption karlo, corruption kara lo”.”
The NAB prosecutor general told the court that this law was not framed by the bureau.
Justice Amir Hani Muslim said, “NAB has not enacted law but it is misusing this law. Why the NAB does not catch some big fish?”
The NAB prosecutor said directives were received from the subordinate courts that arrangements should be made for voluntary return of money.
Justice Amir Hani Muslim inquired, “Why you don’t challenge such decisions in the court?”
He also said, “Tell us are NAB, FIA and anti-corruption enjoying equal powers. Government should give its stance with regard to voluntary return of money. NAB has misused the law of voluntary return.”
He observed, “This is voluntary return of money that the person who has committed corruption should himself come up and say, ‘I have committed this corruption and get this money from me’. If court gives wrong orders in the case of voluntary return of money then it should be challenged.”
The prosecutor said, “When NAB caught big fish then the media started beating the drum of Rs 40 billion. Even the budget of Balochistan province is not Rs 40 billion.”
Ausaf, regarding government’s opinion, told the bench that the issue was in the Senate and a committee headed by the law minister was reviewing the provisions of Section 25 (a).
To this, Justice Muslim said that let the Senate and the National Assembly do its job. He asked him to tell the court about the government’s stance on the voluntary return law. The AGP sought one week to file a reply.
The attorney general said NAB sent letters to electricity bill defaulters. A committee led by the law minister is reviewing the law on voluntary return of money.
Justice Muslim said, “At what pace the work is being done it seems it will take one year to complete this job.” The NAB official said the government wrote a letter to NAB for recovering outstanding electricity bills from defaulters then NAB complied with it.
Justice Saeed said, “The government wrote the letter under what law. Is NAB recovery officer? Who goes for voluntary return confesses his offence and how can he stay restored on his post who confesses his offence.
The court ordered for fixing this case before a three-member bench for hearing.
Asma Jahangir, representing her applicant, raised objection that the order regarding her client was passed by a three-member bench, adding that a two-member bench cannot proceed the matter.
The court sought the government’s stance on voluntary return of money law. The court directed the attorney general to present the government’s stance in a week. The hearing of the case was adjourned for two weeks.