Law ministry

Ministry of Justice tells CHS it cannot interfere in NAB affairs – Pakistan

KARACHI: The Federal Ministry of Law and Justice informed the Sindh High Court on Wednesday that the development of the National Accountability rules mainly concerned the National Accountability Office and that being an independent department, the Ministry could not interfere in its affairs.

An Assistant Attorney General filed the Justice Department’s comments in a petition requesting the formation of rules under the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

In its response, the department further indicated that it was not involved in the development of the NAB rules and that it performed functions under the trade rules to the extent that it audited the proposed rules.

He argued that the subject was about NAB, which had already been cited as the necessary party in the petition.

The petitioner also filed documents containing the NAB Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) approved in 2015.

A two-judge bench headed by Judge Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro adjourned the case until April 14 after both sides asked for time to go through newly submitted documents.

The claimant indicated that he would file a copy of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

At the last hearing, the bench had expressed resentment over excessive delay in developing the rules. An assistant attorney general said the development of the rules was delayed due to the Second Amendment to the NAB Ordinance and assured the bench that the rules would be developed and notified within a month.

Previously, the CHS requested a report from the Department of Justice on the approval of the draft national liability rules after the anti-corruption watchdog said in a statement that the draft NAB rules were still under review at the Ministry of Law and Justice.

A lawyer had moved the CHS in 2020 stating that the NAB ordinance had been enacted in 1999 and despite the passage of more than 20 years, its rules, as required by section 34 of the ordinance to achieve the objectives of the ordinance, had not been drawn up.

The petitioner further argued that neither the NAB had set the rules nor had they been notified to the official gazette for public information.

Posted in Dawn, March 3, 2022