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Govt readies draft amendment to NAB Ordinance

Govt readies draft amendment to NAB Ordinance

ISLAMABAD: A draft amendment to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance has been prepared by the government which states that matters related to taxes and duties will not come under the bureau.

According to the amendment, the cases handled by the federal and provincial regulatory bodies will also not under the jurisdiction of NAB once the formal approval for changes to the law has been given.

The inquiries and investigations related to the taxes and duties that are being pursued by the bureau will be handed over to the relevant bodies after the amendment has been passed by the lawmakers.

Under the changes, the accountability bureau will no longer be probing corruption-related matters that do not involve a sum of at least Rs1 billion. The federal cabinet will also be exempt from NAB inquires.

The trials related to these cases will be transferred from accountability courts to the relevant district courts or other bodies once the amendment has been ratified into existing laws.

The reference to the Anti Money Laundering Act 2010 will be removed from the official schedule of the NAB Ordinance.

The bureau will also have to change procedures into cases involving public officeholders.

The prosecutor-general of the body will be appointed by the consultation of the prime minister and the opposition leader, the amendment states.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability, Shahzad Akbar, said that the government will ensure the protection of the business community against harassment and other forms of intimidation.

He said that the opposition wanted NAB’s authorities restricted. Akbar said that as far as amendments to the NAB ordinance were concerned, the government will consult the opposition as well as the anti-graft body.

Akbar said that the draft being shown on the media was not the correct one. “It can take some days or even weeks for the draft to be ready,” he said, adding that the draft going viral on social media was similar to the one proposed by Farooq H Naek.

He said that the opposition also wanted the authority of ordering arrests to be taken away from the chairman NAB. “We will not bring about any amendment to NAB laws which will be contrary to the PTI’s manifesto,” he said. “The government will also ensure protection for civil servants working with honest intentions.”