SC seeks appointments record of NAB DGs

Updated 06 Aug 2020

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Supreme Court questions posting of an engineer as bureau’s Rawalpindi director general. — AFP/File
Supreme Court questions posting of an engineer as bureau’s Rawalpindi director general. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought complete record of appointments of different directors general posted at important regional directorates of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The appointments to senior posts of the anti-corruption watchdog caught the court’s attention when a two-judge SC bench questioned the appointment of NAB’s Rawalpindi director general Irfan Naeem Mangi.

Mr Mangi shot to prominence when he was appointed a member of the six-man Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted on the orders of the apex court to probe the Panama Papers leak which eventually led to disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 2017.

The bench consisting of Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Faez Isa had taken up a bail plea of Mohammad Nadeem, who is facing allegations of blackmailing and fleecing people by impersonating a NAB officer. The court issued a notice to Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan to assist it in the matter.

Questions posting of an engineer as bureau’s Rawalpindi director general

The court was informed that the accused had called a number of government officers, including Irfan Mangi, by impersonating a NAB officer and a complaint against him had been registered on behalf of the anti-corruption watchdog.

During the hearing, Justice Isa wondered how the NAB chairman could appoint officers by bypassing rules and regulations, adding that prima facie Section 28 of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) contravened Article 240 of the Constitution.

When Justice Isa asked Mr Mangi about his educational qualification as well as the remuneration he draws from the national exchequer as director general, he said he was an engineer and drew a salary of Rs420,000. He replied in the negative when Justice Isa asked if he had any experience of dealing with criminal cases.

At this, Justice Isa wondered how could the highest office in the NAB hierarchy be occupied by an engineer, asking was this the way NAB functioned when it was set up to nab corrupt elements in society. Under what law the NAB chairman appointed officers in the bureau and how an engineer could be appointed as its director general, the judge wondered, adding that the chairman could be called by the court since he was no longer a judge now.

“The NAB is run through the hard-earned money of the people and its officers are the servants of the people,” Justice Isa emphasised.

He also regretted that laws were trampled with impunity during the martial law regimes — a period when “we were more fearful of a dictator than Allah Almighty”. It would be far better than the martial law that the country should be given back to the colonial masters to rule, he said.

Justice Isa regretted that it was only because of the negligence of NAB that people were forced to languish behind bars for years, adding that the performance of NAB qualified itself to face a reference against itself as it had failed to develop even its rules and regulations since 1999 when the NAO was promulgated.

Justice Isa wondered how accused Nadeem, who got his education up to the middle standard from some Bahawalpur school, could impersonate NAB officer and blackmail people, recalling that the accused had even called the PSO managing director by impersonating NAB director general, in addition to other government officers.

How the accused could have access to the cellular numbers of NAB officials, the court wondered.

Justice Mushir Alam asked why no statement of any witness had been recorded in this case.

Advocate Zafar Warriach, appearing on behalf of the accused, alleged that not a single statement of the affected persons had so for been recorded, adding that an FIR against the accused had been registered after a NAB reference against his client was made.

The court, however, accepted the bail plea of the accused and postponed the proceedings to an indefinite period.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2020