MNAs sign up amends in NAB law, reducing 90-day remand period to 14 days

National Assembly passes the bill with unanimous vote: NAB will be required to produce arrested persons in its courts within 24 hours: Consultation for appointment of new chairman will begin two months in advance and complete within 40 days

By: News Desk
Published: 04:23 PM, 26 May, 2022
MNAs sign up amends in NAB law, reducing 90-day remand period to 14 days
Caption: Federal Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar speaking in the National Assembly.
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The National Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), (Second Amendment), Bill-2022 aimed at stopping the misuse of the law and victimization of politicians and opponents. The new legislation reduces the 90-day remand period to 14 days, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Highlighting salient features of the bill, Federal Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar said the NAB law was used for suppressing the voice of the opponent politicians.

All the amendments ordered by superior judiciary from time to time had been accommodated in the new Bill, he said, adding “Now onwards NAB must complete inquiries within a period of six months.”

The minister said the PTI government had extended the tenure of the incumbent NAB chairman by promulgating an ordinance and added that various honest civil servants were put behind bars sans having any cogent evidence.

While serving judges would be appointed in accountability courts by relevant chief justices, he added

Speaking on the NAB amendment bill, Tarar said that former prime minister Imran Khan did not want legislation in the parliament as he was running state affairs through presidential ordinances.

“After that, some other amendments were made which abused the civil servants,” he said. “Civil servants were imprisoned without any evidence. The NAB laws were used to change the voice of politicians. Even the judges said NAB was used to wall-off politicians.”

“We have suffered through this law but we do not want anyone else to suffer. This law gave NAB powers of 90-day remand which is non-bailable. Such remand is for terrorists and criminals who can be brainwashed. We are trying to make better amendments and improve the system,” he said.

The minister said it was unfortunate that the NAB law was used for political victimization of opponents. “We have suffered immensely because of this. But we don’t want others to suffer,” he said, and assured whatever laws the coalition government would enact would be within the parameters of the constitution. 

He wondered when suspects in other cases could get bail, why not the same facility had been provided to those nominated in NAB references. “Under one of the amendments proposed to the NAB law, the practice of remanding a suspect in 90-day police custody will be done away with,” he explained. 

Tarar said there would be no media campaign against the accused until they were proven guilty. 

He went on to say that the former prime minister, Imran Khan, did not want the parliament to do legislation. “He, in fact, relied on ordinances instead,” he added. 

The procedure after the retirement of the NAB chairman has been introduced in the amended bill.

The deputy chairman will be the acting chairman after the retirement of the NAB chairman.

In the absence of the deputy chairman, any senior officer of the institution will get the charge of acting chairman.

The federal and provincial tax matters have been removed from the jurisdiction of the NAB.

The decisions of federal and provincial cabinets will not come under the jurisdiction of the NAB in case of non-availing of financial benefits.

Irregularities in any development project or scheme will not come under the purview of the NAB.

The NAB will not be able to act on the decisions of any regulatory body.

The appointment of judges in accountability courts will be for three years.

Consultation with the chief justice of the high court concerned will be necessary to remove the judge of the accountability court.

Consultation for the appointment of the new NAB chairman will begin two months in advance.

Consultation for the appointment of the new NAB chairman will be completed in 40 days.

If there is no consensus between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, the matter of appointment of NAB chairman will go to the parliamentary committee.

The parliamentary committee will finalise the name of NAB chairman in 30 days.

The same person will not be re-appointed as the NAB chairman after the completion of the three-year term.

The power to appoint the NAB deputy chairman has been taken from the president and given to the federal government.

The accountability courts will decide corruption cases within a year.

The term for the NAB inquiry has been fixed under the new law.

The NAB will now be required to initiate an inquiry within six months.

The NAB will be required to produce the arrested persons in the NAB court within 24 hours.

No arrest can be made immediately after filing a case.

The NAB will ensure availability of adequate evidence before arrest.

An amendment in the NAB law has been introduced to reduce the remand of an accused from 90 to 14 days.

The right of appeal for NAB accused has been increased from 10 days to 30 days

No NAB official will make a statement in the media till a reference is filed against the accused.

Any statement to media before filing of the reference can result in imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to Rs1 million.

If the case against someone is found to be false, the person responsible will be sentenced to five years in prison.

Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali said accountability of thieves must be conducted while innocents must not be persecuted. 

Reporter: Usman Khan