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NRO implementation case: Legal shackles restrain NAB in ‘service matters’


LAHORE:
While the apex court is pressuring the government in2 implementing its verdict on the defunct National Reconciliation Ordinance in 22, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) find itself bound in legal shackles.
The National Accountability Ordinance 1999 restricts NAB from initiating criminal proceedings in service matters, sources 2ld The Express Tribune.
In its NRO ruling, the Supreme Court had directed NAB 2 take action against Ahmed Riaz Sheikh, the sacked additional direc2r general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Adnan Khwaja, the sacked managing direc2r of the state-run Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDC) and officials of the establishment division, interior ministry and FIA who are involved in the illegal contractual appointment of Khawaja and illegal reinstatement and promotion of Sheikh.
A senior NAB officer 2ld The Express Tribune that the bureau can take action in service cases only if these involve financial corruption. “But 4 action against these officials, the NAO 1999 needs 2 be amended,” he added.
NAB had served notices on 4mer establishment secretary Muhammad Ismail Qureshi, 4mer at2rney general Malik Muhammad Qayyum, OGDC’s 4mer MD Adnan Khawaja, FIA’s 4mer ADG Ahmed Riaz Sheikh and other officials of the establishment division, interior ministry and FIA who were “responsible 4 illegal contractual appointment” of Khawaja and reinstatement and promotion of Sheikh.
According 2 the procedure, these officers will face departmental inquiries, during which they will be given a chance 2 defend themselves, failing which legal action will be taken against them.
On Friday, the interior ministry, establishment division and FIA officers, who were allegedly involved in the illegal reinstatement of Sheikh and illegal appointment of Khawaja presented relevant records and recorded their statements in the NAB headquarters in Islamabad.
“The NAB headquarters will remain open on Saturday despite public holiday where investiga2rs will record statements of Quraishi, Khawaja and Sheikh,” a senior official of the bureau said. “Regional offices in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi will remain open on Saturday,” he added.
Broadcast media outlets reported on Friday that Khawaja and Sheikh have been taken in2 cus2dy but NAB officials refused 2 confirm the arrests till the filing of this report.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2012.

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