Corporate, Political, Government Corruption News in Pakistan

Sindh prepares law to outwit NAB, FIA  

KARACHI: In order to check the interference of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) in the province, the Sindh government has prepared a draft law to form its own accountability commission. The draft of the ‘Sindh Accountability Commission’ bill will be presented in the next Sindh Assembly session, likely to be held next week. The objective of the bill states that, “No institution except the Sindh Accountability Commission will probe provincial corruption cases. If any corruption case is liked to a federal subject, then federal agencies will have to take permission from the Sindh Accountability Commission before going ahead for further action.” The commission will be headed by a serving or retired director-general of grade-20 or above who has experience of at least 20 years in his relevant field, states the draft. Meanwhile, five accountability commissioners will be appointed as members of the board along with the prosecutor-general, who will work exclusively for the accountability commission. The commission will have six different wings, each headed by a director of grade 18. These include wings for complaints, investigation and inquiries, prosecution, public relations, monitoring, and one for audits and accounts. The commission will not take notice of any corruption on its own, as is done by the courts or NAB, the draft states, adding that it will only take action after complaints are filed before it. The draft added that all cases will be referred to the director-general after the recommendations and approval of the prosecution and monitoring wing. On the appointment of staff members, the draft states that a search committee will shortlist the candidates and a final decision will be made by the legislative committee, headed by the Sindh Assembly speaker along with 10 members of various parliamentary parties in the House. “If the legislative committee fails to make the decision, then the chief minister will be the final authority for the recruitment,” it added. The Sindh Accountability Commission with the approval of Sindh government can temporarily declare a place as sub-jail where it can put the accused for 45 days for proper investigation. “After taking anyone into custody, the court of the law will be informed within 24 hours,” it said, adding that the commission can award 14-year imprisonment to anyone found guilty. “A person filing fake cases will be awarded three years in jail,” it added. The draft further added that the accountably court will be set up as per requirements to hear the trial of corruption cases. For its part, the Sindh government insists that this move is an attempt to make the provinces more autonomous in light of the 18th Amendment. “The 18th Amendment gives more autonomy to the provinces, therefore, it is necessary to bring this law to make people accountable,” said Sindh parliamentary affairs minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro. “NAB runs under the federal government so there was a need to establish a commission at the provincial level as the Khyber-Pakhunkhwa government has already done,” he said. When asked if the law is being made to counter the activities of NAB and FIA in Sindh, Mandhro said, “We are not afraid of any institution but it [the accountability commission] is the need of the hour.”

 

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