ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court slammed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for being selective in its proceedings and allegedly sparing those it “approved of”.
A three-member bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam, was residing over a hearing of an appeal filed by the anti-graft body against the acquittal of man, Arshad Ali, who faced bank default charges. On the occasion, Justice Alam remarked that the process of accountability must be indiscriminate.
One of the others on the bench, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin, asked the NAB prosecutor how a bank default case belonged in the anti-corruption body’s jurisdiction.
“Was the government sleeping at the time these loans were being given?” he questioned.
The NAB prosecutor replied that the loan was given without the approval of the board of directors, and that the real culprit was the late Zulfiqar.
“There are thousands of bank defaulters in the country, Will NAB act against all of them?” Justice Amin observed, adding that the process of accountability should not be selective.
“How many references has NAB filed against bank defaulters? This case does not fall within NAB’s ambit. If the court accepts this case, then NAB will be authorised to take action against all bank defaulters.”
The prosecutor informed the court that the indicted had taken a loan of Rs15.6 million but had returned Rs5.6 million through plea bargaining.
To this, Justice Amin told the NAB prosecutor that the anti-graft body should focus on recovery in this regard.
The prosecutor then sought time from the court to seek directions, but the court would not decide on the matter. Thus, the hearing was adjourned for a week.
Earlier this year, the SC had censured NAB for conducting biases proceedings, and the body was held accountable for delays in corruption cases. The top court had observed that its officers were not competent enough.
Justice Maqbool Baqar noted that NAB’s inequitable approach had affected its image and the people did not believe in NAB’s credibility and impartiality.
“The bureau seems reluctant in proceeding against people on one side of the political divide even in respect of financial scams of massive proportion while those on the other side are being arrested and incarcerated for months and years without providing any sufficient cause even when the law mandates investigations to be concluded expeditiously and trial to be concluded within 30 days,” the judgment read in his verdict.