The president has approved an amendment to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance regaining the authority to remove chairman of the anti-corruption watchdog.

The National Accountability (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, which has been approved by President Arif Alvi was issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice on Monday.

According to the amendment, the power to remove the NAB chairman from office has been withdrawn from the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and given back to the president.

The NAB chairman’s tenure, as per the new ordinance, will be of four years. The criteria for the removal of the chairman will be the same as the one for the removal of a Supreme Court judge.

Under the amendment, cases of fraud, deception and Modaraba have been given back to the NAB.

It shall come into force at once and the amendments shall be deemed to have retrospective effect from October 6, 2021. Therefore, NAB will hear all cases of fraud from before October 6, as per the amended Ordinance, while old cases of fake accounts can continue as before.

The SJC had previously been empowered to remove the NAB chairman.

The issuance of the NAB Ordinance on October 6 had created ambiguity in the NAB rules, after which the law ministry had formed a committee to explain the NAB Ordinance.

Evidence should be recorded in the old way till the installation of electronic devices, the amended ordinance read.

It added that the NAB court was also given the power to fix bail.

Meanwhile, PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Maryam Nawaz and Shehbaz Sharif did not get any relief as per the NAB ordinance. All pre-established money laundering cases against them will continue as before.


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