Explainer: All the changes PML-N govt made to NAB laws

From chairman appointment to 90-day remand
May 26, 2022

The National Assembly approved on Thursday National Accountability Ordinance second Amendment 2021 bill changing the way the graft body work.

The bill was tabled by Federal Law Minister Azeem Tarar and it was approved by the House with a majority vote.

Here are some of the major changes that the government has made to the NAB law.

NAB chairman appointment

  • Federal government, instead of president, will have the authority to appoint the NAB chairman (Yes, the language of the draft does not use a gender-neutral ‘chairperson’). The current President Arif Alvi belongs to PTI.

  • The chairman of NAB will be appointed for a term of three years. The term has been reduced by a year from the previous four years.

  • A person can not be appointed NAB chairman more than once. This put to an end debate about extensions.

  • For the appointment of the NAB chairman, consultations will begin two months prior to the retirement of an incumbent chairman.

  • The consultation for the appointment of a new chairman has to be completed within 40 days.

  • If the prime minister and the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly could not reach a consensus on the name of a candidate for the NAB chairman post, the matter will be forwarded to the parliamentary committee.

  • Parliamentary committee will have 30 days to finalize the name.

  • On the retirement of the NAB chairman, deputy chairman will be made interim chief.

  • In the absence of the deputy chairman, any senior officer of the bureau can be given charge of the chairman.

NAB jurisdiction

  • The graft body will not have the jurisdiction to investigate the federal and provisional tax issues.

  • In case of federal and provincial cabinet decisions, if there’s no accusation of financial benefits, the matter will not come under NAB’s jurisdiction.

  • The NAB will not be able to investigate any irregularity regarding a development project/scheme.

  • The graft body will not be able to take any action regarding the decisions taken by any regulatory authority.

Accountability courts

  • The judges of the accountability courts will be appointed for a term of three-year.

  • Before removing any accountability judge, consultation with the relevant high court’s chief justice is mandatory.

  • Accountability courts will have to decide on corruption cases within a year.

NAB inquiry

  • NAB will have to initiate inquiry within six months of receiving the complaint, unlike the past when there was no time limit.

  • The bureau will be bound to present the suspect before the court within 24 hours of arrest.

  • Arrests can not be made right after the case has been filed.

  • NAB will have to make adequate evidence available before making any arrest.

  • Remand under the NAB law has been reduced from 90 days to 14 days.

  • A person convicted by the NAB will have 30 days to file an appeal. Earlier, it was 10 days.

  • NAB officials will not be allowed to make any statement in media till a reference has been filed. Failing to do so could result in one-year imprisonment and up to Rs1 million in fines.

  • If an accused is acquitted on the ground that the case was initiated with malafide intentions or based on fabricated evidence, the person responsible can face up to five years of jail term.



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