- Under the new amendments, cases of fraud and deception have been brought back under the ambit of the NAB
- The president took back the authority he gave to the Supreme Judicial Council to remove the NAB chairman
President Dr Arif Alvi has signed an ordinance, bringing further changes to the recently promulgated National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law, Aaj News reported on Monday.
The Ministry of Law and Justice issued the National Accountability (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 following the approval of President Alvi.
Under the new amendments that come into force retrospectively from October 6, cases of fraud and deception with the public have been brought back under the ambit of the corruption watchdog.
The ordinance also clarifies the sections related to the video and online recording of depositions, allowing accountability courts to follow the old procedure for the purpose until electronic devices are installed in courts.
Moreover, the president took back the authority he gave to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) forum to remove the NAB chairman under Article 209 in the previous NAB ordinance.
Amendments in NAB ordinance
Last month, President Alvi approved the NAB ordinance. Under the amendments, the power to appoint the NAB chief will be exercised by none other than the president himself.
It stated the current NAB chairman will have all the powers till the appointment of a new one and the president will appoint the NAB chairman in consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition.
“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 (SJC).
The ordinance mentioned that the term of the NAB chairman’s office will be of four years, while on completion of the said period, the incumbent NAB chief can be re-appointed for four more years.
It stated the procedure in place for the removal of the Supreme Court judges will be adopted for the removal of the NAB chairman as well. It also said 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 said 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 bails or release the accused.