ISLAMABAD: The joint session of the Parliament has recently passed the amendments to clip the wings of the National Accountability Bureau, ARY News reported.
The assets beyond means of income will not be sufficient now for the accountability watchdog to initiate a case against a respondent. Under the proposed law, it has been made binding upon NAB to ensure the availability of evidence against an accused prior to his or her arrest.
The onus will now be on the NAB to provide evidence, instead upon the accused, as required in the previous law.
According to the bill, punishment for corruption and corrupt practices would be the rigorous imprisonment for a term which might extend to 14 years. The bill also omitted Section 14 (presumption against accused accepting illegal gratification).
According to another amendment a NAB official will be punished with an imprisonment of five years and a fine of upto one million, if the accused had been acquitted by the court on the ground that the case was initiated with mala fide intention or based on false or fabricated evidence.
A newly inserted section stated that no official of NAB, in any capacity, would make any statement in public or to the media regarding the persons involved in any inquiry or investigation conducted by NAB until a reference had been filed against such persons.
President Dr Arif Alvi had returned the previous bill passed. Article 46 of the Constitution had been violated, the President had claimed, as he was not informed about the legislative proposal before the bill was brought to the parliament.
After the joint sitting’s approval, the bills will be sent once again to the President for approval, but if he does not sign them within 10 days, it will be considered that his assent has been given under Article 75(2) of the Constitution.