President promulgates NAO allowing Javed Iqbal to stay at helm

A day after the PTI-led government decided to extend the tenure of incumbent National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, President Arif Alvi on Wednesday promulgated the National Accountability Bureau Amendment Ordinance (NAO) 2021, Express News reported.

As per the ordinance, Justice (retd) Iqbal will remain in his seat till the appointment of a new chairman of the anti-corruption watchdog.

It said that the current NAB chairman will have all the powers till the appointment of a new one, adding that Iqbal can also be chosen as a candidate for the new NAB chief slot.

The ordinance stated that the president will appoint the NAB chairman in consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition.

Read more: NAB chief to stay until new successor

"If there is no unanimous decision on the appointment of new NAB chairman, the matter will be referred to a parliamentary committee," it added.

It said that the NAB chairman can be removed from office under Article 209 of the Constitution.

The new ordinance stated that the NAB chairman will have the power to make arrests, while complaints against the NAB chairman will be heard by the Supreme Judicial Council.

On Tuesday, The PTI-led government had decided to extend the tenure of incumbent NAB chief until a new successor was appointed in his place.

Justice (retd) Javed was appointed during the tenure of the PML-N government and his tenure was supposed to end on October 8 this year.

According to the ordinance, the term of NAB chairman’s office will be four years, while on completion of the said period, the incumbent NAB chief can be appointed for four more years. The procedure for re-appointment will be the same.

The ordinance stated the procedure in place for the removal of Supreme Court judges will be adopted for the removal of NAB chairman. It said that the NAB chairman can send his/her resignation to the president.

Under the new ordinance, the president has the authority to establish as many accountability courts in the country as he deems fit.

The ordinance stated that the president will appoint judges of accountability courts for a period of three years in consultation with the concerned chief justices of the high courts.

Under the new ordinance, all offences will be non-bailable and only the accountability courts will have the power to grant bail or release the accused.

It said that the chairman will file a reference in consultation with the NAB prosecutor general, while the reference can be filed in any accountability court across the country and the court will be allowed to use technology to record evidence.

According to the ordinance, the NAB law will not apply to federal, provincial and local taxation matters, and the decisions of the federal and provincial cabinets, committees and sub-committees will not fall under the purview of the NAB.

The ordinance stated that decisions of the CCI, NEC, NFC, ECNEC, CDWP, PDWP would also be outside the jurisdiction of NAB.

It further stated that public or government projects regarding irregularities of rules will also be outside the domain of NAB.

This will be updated…

(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)