Senate passes National Accountability (Second Amendment), Bill, 2022

 
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ISLAMABAD, May 27 (TNS): The Senate on Friday unanimously passed the National Accountability (Second Amendment), Bill, 2022, with having amendments in various sections of previous the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

The bill was moved by Minister for Law and Justice, Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, which was unanimously passed by the house.

As per the amendments of section 4 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 namely “Application”, under which the ordinance extends to the whole of Pakistan and shall apply to all persons, including those persons who are or have been in the service of Pakistan, except persons and transactions specified in sub-section (2).

(2) The provisions of this Ordinance shall not be applicable to the following persons or transactions, namely:-
(a) all matters pertaining to Federal, Provincial or Local taxation, other levies or imposts, including refunds, or loss of exchequer pertaining to taxation;
(b) decisions of Federal or Provincial Cabinet, their committees or Sub-Committee Council of Common Interests (CCI), National Economic Council (NEC), National Finance Commission (NFC), Executive Committee of The National Economic Council (ECNEC), Central Development Working Party (CDWP), the State Bank of Pakistan and such other bodies except where the holder of the public office has received a monetary gain as a result of such decision.

(c) any person entity who, or transaction in relating thereto, which are not directly or indirectly connected with the holder of a public office except offenses falling under clauses (ix), (x) and (xi) of sub-section (a) of section 9;
(d) procedural lapses in performance of any public or government work or function, project or scheme, unless there is evidence to prove that a holder of public office or any other person acting on his behalf has been conferred or has received any monetary or other material benefit from that particular public or government work or function whether directly or indirectly on account of such procedural lapses, which said recipient was otherwise receive;
(e) a decision taken, an advice, report or opinion rendered or given by a public office holder or any other person in the course of his duty, unless there is sufficient evidence to show that the holder of public office or any or other person acting on his behalf received or gained any monetary or other material benefit, form that decision, advice, report or opinion, whether directly or indirectly, which the said recipient was otherwise not entitled to receive; and
(f) all matters, which have been decided by , or fall within the jurisdiction of a regulatory body established under a Federal or Provincial law.

(3) Upon the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance,2021 (XXIII of 2021), coming into force, all pending inquiries, investigations, trials or proceedings under this ordinance, relating to persons or transactions mentioned in clause (a) of sub-section (2), shall stand transferred to the concerned authorities, departments and courts under the respective laws””
As per Clause-3,
(i) ‘Freezing’ includes attachment, sealing, prohibiting, holding, controlling or managing any property either through a Receiver or otherwise as may be directed by the Court of Chairman NAB and in case it is deemed necessary the disposal thereof, by sale through auction or negotiation subject to confirmation by the Court or by Chairman NAB as the case may be after public notice.

9A Amendment of section 18, Ordinance XVIII of 1999. In the Ordinance, in section 18,
(A)In sub section (c) for the expression ‘or investigation’. ‘the expression.’ If after completion of inquiry the allegations of commission of an offence under this Ordinance are substantiated with material evidence, the matter shall be converted into investigation.

Provided that the report of the inquiry shall be provided to the accused.
(B) In sub section (d) the letter ‘NAB’ ,at the end shall be omitted;
(C)Sub section (e) shall be omitted ; and
In sub section (f) for the words ‘expeditiously as may be practical and feasible, the words ‘within six months’ ‘shall be substituted’.

As per Clause “5A (1) A judge of a court who is a serving district and Session judge shall ordinarily hold office for a term of three years from date of his initial appointment as such judge.

(2) A judge shall not be removed or transferred from his office before the completion of the term with his office without consultation of the Chief Justice of High Court concerned.””

As per Clause-5 (i) there shall be a Chairman, National Accountability Bureau to be appointed by the Federal Government after consultation between leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.

Provided that the consultation between leader of the House and leader of the Opposition shall be initiated two months prior to the expiry of the term of outgoing Chairman and shall be concluded within the period of forty five days.

(ii) If there is no consensus on the name of the Chairman, the names proposed by the leader of the House and leader of Opposition shall be forwarded by the Chairman of the Senate and Speaker of the National Assembly, as the case may be, to the Parliamentary Committee appointed under clause
(iii) which may confirm any one name for appointment as Chairman:
Provided that the leader of house and leader of the opposition shall propose two names each for consideration of the parliamentary Committee;
(iv) The Parliamentary Committee under clause (ii) shall be constituted by the speaker National Assembly, comprising fifty percent members from treasury benches and fifth percent from opposition benches, based on their strength in Majlise-Shoora (parliament), to be nominated by the respective Parliamentary leaders: Provided that the Parliamentary Committee shall recommended the name of Chairman not later than thirty days’
In the clause 9, for the proposed section 16, that related to case management and trial of offences; (a) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, an accused shall be prosecuted for an offence under this Ordinance in the Court established under this Ordinance and the case shall be disposed of within one year.

(b) The court shall sit at such a place or places as the Federal Government, may, by order, specify in this behalf.

(c) Where more Court than one have been established at a place, the Chief Justice of the High Court of the Province concerned shall designate a judge of any such court to be an administrative judge and a case triable under this Ordinance shall be filed before the court of the administrative judge who may either try the case himself or, assign it for trial by any other court established at that place at any time prior to the framing of the charge.

(d) In respect of a case assigned to a court under sub-section, all orders made or proceedings taken before the assignment shall be deemed to have been made or taken by the court to which the case has been assigned.

(e) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, if in respect of any case relating to an offence triable under this Ordinance, the Chairman NAB having regard to the fact and circumstances of the case may file a reference before any Court established anywhere in Pakistan, and such Court shall have the jurisdiction to try the same.”

(D) Insertion of New Clause 9B9B. Amendment of section 21,Ordinance XVIII of 1999 – In the Ordinance, in section 21, in clause (f), after the semi colon, the word ‘and’ shall be added and thereafter clause (g) shall be omitted.
Insertion of Clause 9C – Omission of section 23, in the Ordinance section 23 shall be omitted.

9D Substitution of section 24, Ordinance XVIII of 1999. In the Ordinance for section 24, Arrest (a) The Chairman NAB may issue warrant of arrest during the course of investigation under this Ordinance, if –
(i)The accused is intentionally or willfully not joining the investigation after repeated notices;
(ii) The accused is attempting to abscond;
(iii)There are sufficient grounds that the accused would temper with the prosecution evidence; or
(iv) There is credible information regarding repetition or continuation of offence under this Ordinance.

(b)If the Chairman NAB or an officer of the NAB duly authorized by him, decides to refer the case to a court, such reference alongwith report of investigation officer shall contain the substance of the offence of offences as the case may be, alleged to have been committed by the accused and a copy of such reference shall be forwarded to the Registrar of the Court to which the case has been sent to try the accused, and another copy shall be delivered to the accused.

(c) The provisions of sub section (a) shall also apply to cases, which have already been referred to the court.

9E Amendment of section 25, Ordinance XVIII of 1999. In the Ordinance , in section 25, in sub section (b) for full stop at the end, a colon shall be substituted and thereafter the proviso shall be added, namely:-
“Provided that statement or witness of any accused entering into plea bargain or voluntarily return shall no prejudice case of any other accused.”

9F Amendment of section 26, Ordinance XVIII of 1999.- in the Ordinance, in section 26, for sub section (a) and (b), the following should be substituted, namely;-
Tender of pardon (a) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code, at any stage of inquiry, investigation or trial, the Chairman NAB may, with a view to obtaining the evidence of any person supposed to have been directly or indirectly concerned in or privy to any offence, tender a full or conditional colon pardon to such a person on condition of his making a full and true disclosure of the whole of the circumstances within his knowledge based on material relating to the said offence including the names of the persons involved therein whether as principals or abettors or otherwise.

Provided that such person shall person shall stand disqualified for a period of five years, to be reckoned from the date of termination of the trial, for seeking or from being elected, chosen appointed or nominated as a member or representative of any public body or any statutory or local authority or in service of Pakistan or of any province.

(b) Every person accepting a tender of pardon under subsection (a) shall be examined by a magistrate in the presence of the accused who shall be given an opportunity as a witness in the subsequent trial.

A new Clause is inserted:- 10A amendment in section 32, Ordinance XVIII of 1999.- in section 32
(a)In sub section (a) for the word ten the word thirty shall be substituted and
(b)In subsection (b) for the expression and shall be disposed of within thirty days of the filing of the appeal., ‘The expression.’ The provision contained in section 426 of the Code shall apply mutatis mutandis in case of an appeal filed against order of conviction.

33F Restriction on issuance of public statements. No official of NAB, in any capacity, shall make any statement in public or to the media regarding persons involved in any inquiry or investigation conducted by NAB until a reference has been filed against such persons.
33G.

Punishment for making public statements;- Whoever contravenes the provisions of section 33F shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extent to one year but shall not be less than one month and with a fine of one million rupees.