The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to submit the details of people who have voluntarily submitted ill-gotten money through plea bargain.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and comprising Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan heard the suo motu case against the clauses of the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance that allows `voluntary return and plea bargain’ and the bureau to discharge the individual from `all his liability’ in the matter.
The court also expressed displeasure over the absence of Attorney General for Pakistan. The government counsel informed the court that the AGP was in Washington in connection with Pak-India dispute over water issues.
The CJP remarked, “Let the AGP go abroad on permanent basis so that no case of national importance could be heard.”
Regarding the section of the NAB Ordinance allowing plea bargain and voluntary return, the bench expressed its displeasure and remarked that under this section ‘the authorities are to apprehend the criminal, recover the amount and let the criminal go with thanks’, so he can commit more crimes.
Chief Justice Jamali remarked that under the NAB section in question, officers involved in corruption are even allowed to return to their posts and then continue to pay back the embezzled amount in installments.
During the course of proceedings, the Additional Attorney General for Pakistan informed the court that the parliamentary committee was reviewing the NAB ordinance, to which the Chief Justice remarked that when matters are not to be resolved committees are formed.
Justice Ameer Hani Muslim asked the Deputy Attorney General whether inquiries have been conducted to investigate those who have voluntary returned money. Rana Waqar replied that no investigation was carried out against any government officer.
Justice Amir Hani Muslim remarked that reinstatment of those government employees who returned embezzled amount under plea bargain was itself a misconduct.
Chief Justice remarked, “If this law is allowed to prevail then country’s jails can be emptied; any thief from whom money is procured should not only be freed but also thanked.”
The court while seeking detailed replies from NAB, Federation and four all the four provinces adjourned the hearing of the case till October 24. (APP)