NAB amend case: Plea bargain money to stop coming, PTI lawyer tells SC
October 10, 2022 05:41 PM
Supreme Court Justice Mansoor Ali Shah has remarked that a court trial will be held of those who have stopped paying outstanding amount of the plea bargain after the recent amendments to the accountability law, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
The judge expressed these remarks during the hearing of a petition filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan challenging the amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), the law which governs the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
A three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah heard the case.
During the hearing, Justice Ahsan inquired who owned the accounts of an auto man and Falooda vendor.
PTI lawyer Khwaja Haris said these fake accounts belonged to the Benami accounts of Abdul Ghani Majeed and his companies and former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari had denied owning these accounts.
Haris told the court that there was a difference of Rs6 billion in the amount recovered under the plea bargain settlement by the NAB in 2019.
In 2021, the NAB struck agreements worth Rs17.2 billion but the bureau could recover only Rs8.2 billion and after the amendments to the NAO, the bureau would not be able to recover rest of the amount.
Justice Shah, however, remarked that those who did not pay their outstanding dues of the plea bargain agreement, they would have to face the trial even after the amendments and the accused could also be awarded punishment.
But the lawyer pointed out that in the recent amendments, NAB’s jurisdiction was abolished since 1985 adding that how come the recovered amount could be maintained when the bureau’s jurisdiction was abolished.
Haris contended that no matter what was the nature of the crime, the trial court was sending back every corruption case which involved money less than Rs500 million. If the NAB jurisdiction has been abolished from the past date, then the plea bargain order will also cease to exist, he said adding that why a man on earth would pay his outstanding dues of the bargain when he was aware that he could be benefited from the new amendments.
On this, Chief Justice of Pakistan Bandial expressed his bafflement saying that it meant that the accused’s admission of his guilt could not be considered though he had stricken a plea bargain with the NAB.
Justice Shah inquired of the lawyer whether somebody who had made assets through illegal sources, he did not have to prove it to the NAB!
CJP Bandial, however, remarked that if a person revealed his money after the announcement of Amnesty Scheme, then he could be benefitted from the tax free scheme, but if he did not reveal the source of his income then his crime would stay.
After this, the court adjourned the hearing of the case till tomorrow.