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KARACHI: As the chief minister made it clear on Friday that the National Accountability Bureau cannot take any action in Sindh after the promulgation of a new provincial law, his government approached the NAB chairman asking him to transfer all investigations being conducted by the apex anti-graft watchdog into provincial departments and office-holders to the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE).

“We have enforced our anti-corruption law to eliminate corruption from the province. Our stance is very clear that anti-corruption is a provincial subject,” CM Murad Ali Shah told reporters during a visit to St Patrick’s Cathedral to express solidarity with the Christian community on National Minorities Day.

Responding to a question regarding the status of the National Accountability Bureau in Sindh, the chief minister said that the federal anti-graft body no longer had jurisdiction in provincial cases. The provincial government would strengthen its law to curb corruption, he added.

CM says NAB has no role in provincial matters

Officials said on Friday that the Sindh services, general administration and coordination department had sent a communiqué to the NAB chief on Thursday in which it officially intimated the latter that the Sindh Assembly had passed the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 Sindh Repeal Act, 2017, which had become law with effect from Aug 9 as per provisions of Article 116 of the Constitution.

“Under Section 2 of the above Repeal Act,” said the communiqué, “all complaints, inquiries, and investigations with regard to provincial departments and provincial office holders relating to the province of Sindh are to be transferred to the ACE Sindh.”

In a separate notification sent to all ministries, departments, planning and development board, Board of Revenue, ACE, provincial ombudsman and related establishments, the provincial government referred to the Repeal Act and ordered all matters with respect to inquiries, complaints and investigations into corrupt practices “shall be the sole jurisdiction of the Anti-Corruption Establishment or agency to the exclusion of any federal body including the NAB.”

It said: “Not to share any information and provide or submit record to any other body except ACE Sindh or any other provincial agency with regard to inquiry, investigation, or any complaint into corruption or corrupt practices, or act upon any proceeding or notice as per provisions of the National Account­ability Ordinance 1999 Sindh Repeal Act, 2017.”

However, the order further said, cooperation by the government departments or office holders could be extended to NAB or any other federal agency if the matter related to any inquiry or investigation with respect to the federal government departments or institutions as provided under the law.

Meanwhile, in reply to another question the CM said that the Sindh governor was not a member of the provincial apex committee, but he used to be invited in the past in the meetings through a special invitation.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2017