NAB should use its power impartially: SC

Business Recorder

TERENCE J SIGAMONY

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should use its power impartially and not misuse it.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, on Thursday was hearing appeals against the Peshawar High Court (PHC)’s decision in a case pertaining to filing of more than one reference against a government official. NAB appeals against 25 accused including the Peshawar Development Authority DG on corruption charges.

The PHC had directed the anti-graft watchdog to file supplementary references and declared its two references “null and void”.

Justice Bandial said the NAB should not misuse his authority, adding in white-collar crimes documentary evidence is essential.

He noted granting 90, 90 days remand in each case was cruelty.

Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi said in the criminal cases, the remand was granted not more than 40 days.

The 90 days remand of the NAB accused is given for completion of investigation, he added.

The judge questioned whether the NAB investigation officers are not trained?

He said that the NAB should file the reference after completing the investigation.

Justice Bandial said the NAB have to perform functions in accordance with its own law. The bench noted that Section 17-D of the National Accountability Ordinance says; “Notwithstanding anything in section 234 of the Code, a person accused of more offences than one of the same kind committed during the space of any number of years, from the first to the last of such offences, may be charged with and tried at one trial for any number of such offences.”

Justice Mazahar remarked that why the NAB law officers discussed those issues in the department.

The NAB special prosecutor general (SPG) said that if the accused were not arrested then they did not cooperate in investigation.

He said one political personality in London for the last three years had not been cooperating regarding investigation in money laundering case.

The court inquired how could the NAB register more than one case against the accused.

It observed that when the accused was granted bail after two years, the NAB had filed the second reference.

The references were filed with a gap of a week, the bench noted.

Justice Mazahar questioned under which law the NAB could file supplementary reference.

The SPG replied that the supplementary reference was filed under CrPC’s clause related to additional challan.

He told that the PHC have restrained the NAB to file more than one reference against the accused.

He argued that there was no restriction in the law on filing a second reference.

The court said supplementary and not new references should be filed.

The court directing the parties to submit written statements adjourned the hearing until January, 2021.

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