Apex court to govt…: Amend NAB Ordinance by Feb or SC will do it

The News

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday granted time until February for making amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 with particular reference to the provisions relating to plea bargain and voluntarily returns and sought compliance report and observed the government must make amendments or the apex court would do the same.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed heard a suo motu case relating to amendment to some provisions of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999. The judge had deplored the powers of the NAB chairman to allow an offender found guilty of corruption to get off scot free without any stigma after voluntarily returning the embezzled money. In some cases, the accused, after paying the embezzled amount, were even allowed to join their previous jobs from which they were fired for committing corruption. Justice Hani had observed that Section 25(a) of the NAO, prima facie, seemed to be in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution and, therefore, the vires of this provision needed to be examined.

On Thursday, senior lawyer Farooq H Naek informed the court that as a Parliamentary Committee had already been constituted by the previous National Assembly for suggesting amendments to the NAO 1999 therefore, he submitted that the committee will also be asked to deliberate on these provisions for which he sought some time.

DAG Sohail Mahmood also submitted he was aware of the meeting held the other day, hence he requested the court that some time might be granted to the said committee for suggesting the amendments to the NAO Ordinance 1999 in the light of observations earlier made by the court. Meanwhile, the court granted time till first

week of February for making necessary amendment to the NAO Ordinance 1999 and directed for submitting compliance report and adjourned further hearing.

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