‘Spy agency officers’ to assist NAB in high-profile cases probes

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Officers from the country’s spy agencies will assist the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in investigations of high-profile corruption cases after the reopening of billions of rupees graft references in the light of the apex court order, Geo News reported on Thursday.

The country’s top anti-graft watchdog is set to appoint intelligence agency officers for the probes, as sources said that assistance from the sensitive institutions has been sought in a letter approved by NAB Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Nazir Ahmed Butt.

They also said that the anti-graft crusaders asked for the appointment of spy officers to key positions on deputation for the inquiries and that they are expected to start working in the next few days. However, they will serve on their existing scale and salaries.

The insiders further disclosed that all vacant posts in NAB will be filled immediately.

A deputy chairman of the national anti-graft body and prosecutor general will also be appointed soon on a permanent basis, they added.

The spy agency officers appointed on deputation will perform duties in the NAB offices and a strong and efficient intelligence system will be established in the anti-corruption watchdog, the sources said.

The decision to seek intelligence agency officers’ assistance has been taken to make the process of accountability swift and effective. They will assist the investigation officers in the NAB inquiries.

The move came after NAB submitted a record of corruption references to an accountability court in Islamabad, in line with the apex court’s order to restore graft cases against public office holders.

Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir directed the registrar of the court to review the cases’ records and present them before him.

The judge directed the NAB prosecutors to review the legal aspects of the cases as the nature of cases against private individuals, public office holders, and government employees is different.

On September 15, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court in a majority 2-1 verdict approved Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s petition challenging amendments made to the country’s accountability laws during the tenure of the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government.

Then-chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial-led bench ordered restoring all graft cases that were closed against the political leaders and public office holders and declared the amendments void.

With this, various political bigwigs, including former prime ministers and a former president will undergo accountability.

The cases will be reopened against ex-PMs Nawaz Sharif, Yousuf Raza Gillani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Shehbaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former president Asif Ali Zardari, former chief ministers of Sindh, Punjab as well as dozens of former federal and provincial ministers, according to The News.

Sources said the fake accounts cases against Zardari and the rental power plants case against Ashraf have also been reopened. They added that the Toshakhana vehicles cases against Zardari, Nawaz and Gillani would also be investigated again.

Other politicians who would face cases include former chief minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, former finance minister Miftah Ismail and former finance minister Senator Ishaq Dar for amassing assets beyond known sources of income.

SOURCE: The News International – National

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