Chairman NAB Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal in his reply submitted in the Supreme Court said that it is a legal obligation to produce 50 witnesses in cases while it is not possible to decide on corruption cases in 30 days.
Chairman NAB Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal submitted the reply after questions were raised in the Supreme Court regarding the establishment of 120 new accountability courts and NAB performance.
In his reply, the NAB chairman said that the existing accountability courts were insufficient to handle the burden of cases. He had repeatedly asked the government to increase the number of NAB courts.
The NAB chairman said that he had told the government several times that the trial was being delayed due to the burden of cases.
In response to a question raised by the Supreme Court regarding 50, 50 witnesses, Chairman NAB wrote that it is a legal obligation to produce 50, 50 witnesses.
At the same time, he said that a decision on corruption cases is not possible in 30 days.
In his reply, the NAB chairman said that additional courts were needed in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Balochistan, with each accountability court hearing an average of 50 cases.
Chairman NAB said that if not 120 District and Sessions Judges, then retired judges can also be appointed for appointment in the courts, besides, the services of retired judges can also be taken for hearing appeals against accountability courts.
The reply said that NAB courts strictly abide by the Criminal Code, accountability courts do not exercise the power of non-compliance with the Criminal Code.
He said that miscellaneous petitions of the accused and restraining order of the High Court were also the reasons for the delay in the decision of the cases while the courts did not follow the rules laid down by the Supreme Court for bail. It takes time.
According to the reply filed in the Supreme Court, the delay in getting legal aid from abroad is also the reason for the untimely decision.
It was also said that the word ‘political figures’ is misinterpreted by the courts, which would have made it difficult for foreign bodies to understand the meaning of political figures.
In response to the NAB chairman, it was said that the Supreme Court has stopped the use of voluntary refund authority. If a voluntary refund is allowed, many cases will not reach the courts.
It may be recalled that on July 8, during the hearing of the suo motu notice on irregularities in the construction of Lakhra Coal Mining Plant, the Supreme Court had directed the Law Secretary to set up at least 120 accountability courts to end the major backlog of cases. Get immediate instructions from the government to set up.
The Supreme Court’s directive came after it expressed annoyance over vacancies in five of the 25 accountability courts, including 1226 references pending since 2000.
During the hearing, the Chief Justice said that the decision of NAB references should be taken in 30 days, it seems that it will take a century for the decision of 1226 references to be taken.
Later in the hearing on July 23, the Chief Justice had remarked that the NAB was responsible for the delay in deciding corruption cases.
He had said that the delay in the decision of corruption cases starts from the NAB office, the legal aspects are not known to the investigating officers and thus the investigation has been going on for years.
The apex court had remarked that there is no standard in the reference, one witness is enough but here 50, 50 people are taken as witnesses.
The court further directed the federal cabinet to approve the establishment of 120 new accountability courts, create infrastructure for new accountability courts and submit NAB rules within a month.
It is to be noted that corruption is one of the major problems of the country and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was set up to eradicate it.
The current NAB chairman is Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal and he has repeatedly reiterated his commitment to non-discriminatory accountability.
However, several cases are still pending in the accountability courts, while opposition parties have accused the current government of using the NAB for political revenge, a charge the government has always denied.
In addition, in a detailed judgment in the Paragon Housing Society case against Khawaja Saad Rafique and Khawaja Salman Rafique recently, the Supreme Court had termed the conduct of the NAB as a clear violation of law, justice, fairness and reasonableness.