Amended NAB law to exclude private citizens from accountability watchdog’s reach – Pakistan

The Bill of Amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, also known as the NAB (National Accountability Bureau), is ready to be presented in parliament and includes a provision for private citizens not related to the holders of public charges to be excluded from the scope of the accountability dog, Dawn.com has learned

"The application of the NAB laws cannot be extended with respect to a private person or entity, which / which is directly and indirectly disconnected from a holder of a public office," says the third amendment proposed to the law.

On August 22, the government announced the decision to strip the NAB of the powers to poll private citizens at a press conference held by the federal Minister of Law and Justice, Dr. Farogh Nasim.

The draft, whose copy was obtained by DawnNewsTV, details another 10 proposals.

He proposes that the courts of trial or accountability "can be conferred the power to entertain and decide bail requests before and after arrest."

According to the existing NAO of 1999, there is no provision to grant bail to a NAB suspect; As a result, a suspect must file a petition under article 199 of the Constitution before the higher court to request bail. A citizen can invoke Article 199 and file a petition with the corresponding higher court to enforce fundamental rights when there is no legal remedy.

The draft also proposes amendments related to the voluntary return of a misappropriated amount and the release of a person under a plea agreement. As such, it suggests:

(i) The voluntary return may be approved by a committee formed by the prime minister.
(ii) Guidelines that will be formed to receive a request for voluntary returns and plea agreements.
(iii) Accepting a plea agreement and voluntary return may cause the holder of a public office to be disqualified to hold a position or employment for a period of 10 years or any other period.

In addition, "a threshold of Rs 500 million can be introduced," the draft suggests.

Under the amended law, the valuation of real estate must be calculated according to the District Collector's rate or the Federal Income Board (FBR) rate, whichever is higher.

The new NAB law will also take into consideration that officials failures occur and will not categorize them as crimes.

"The NAB will not be aware of the crimes based on procedural failures" unless there is evidence to confirm that the "officer has materially benefited from such decision or lapse," reads the proposed amendment.

Referring to the section in the existing law related to & # 39; misuse of authority & # 39 ;, the new law says that the act will only be recognizable if there is an underlying criminal intention and the action results in an illegal or unjustifiable increase of the assets of a server government.

In addition, the assets of a public servant will not be frozen solely because of the belief that they have committed a crime. "The property will be frozen once the officer has been convicted by the court," according to the draft amendment.

The amended law will also see an arrested defendant released on bail if an investigation under the NAB ordinance is not concluded within a three month period. In addition, the previous 90-day physical custody period of an accused official will be reduced to 45 days.

A case previously investigated by NAB and closed will not be reopened.

The NAB authorities will also have reduced jurisdiction in matters related to taxes, the stock exchange, including IPOs and building control "because the FBR, SECP and building control authorities can take appropriate measures."

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1502604/amended-nab-law-to-exclude-private-citizens-from-accountability-watchdogs-reach

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