PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday granted two more months to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to produce a detailed report on its investigations into the alleged irregularities in the Bank of Khyber recruitment, Billion Tree Tsunami afforestation programme, and Malam Jabba ski resort land lease.
A bench consisting of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Syed M Attique Shah fixed Dec 8 for the next hearing into a pro bono petition filed by Dr Adil Zareef, Maimoona Noor and four other civil society members seeking it to declare that the NAB had failed to take action on ‘irregularities’ in several prominent projects of the provincial government.
It ordered the production of a detailed report about the three cases before the next hearing.
The petitioners claimed that the NAB was carrying out selective accountability and had put all cases against members of the ruling PTI on the back-burner.
They requested the court to declare that the NAB has failed to perform duties in relation to the cases of the erstwhile KP Ehtesab Commission, alleged corruption in Billion Tree Tsunami project, alleged illegal appointments to the Bank of Khyber (BOK) and irregularities in the Malam Jabba ski resort lease, and that the failure was arbitrary and illegal.
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The petitioners also sought the court’s orders for action against the NAB officers, who failed to perform duties about those cases, under the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999.
Senior advocate Ali Gohar Durrani appeared for the petitioners and requested the court to direct the NAB to act in accordance with the NAO instead of cherry-picking.
He sought action against the NAB officers, who ‘gave undue favours to the accused in those cases by withholding the process of their accountability’.
NAB additional prosecutor general Azeem Dad and senior prosecutor Mohammad Ali informed the bench that investigation about a portion of the Billion Tree Tsunami project in Dera Ismail Khan had been completed and a reference was expected to be filed with the relevant court in near future.
They added that investigation about some other regions was under way and time was required to submit reports about it.
The two said investigation was also done about BOK recruitment and its findings were sent to the NAB headquarters to decide whether to file a reference or not.
They also sought time for producing a report about the Malam Jabba land lease issue.
The counsel for petitioners complained that the NAB hadn’t showed any progress in the Billion Tree Tsunami and BOK cases.
The respondents in the petition are the federation of Pakistan through the law secretary, interior secretary, NAB through its chairman, NAB executive board through its chairman, and NAB KP through its director-general.
Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2021