After controversial amendments, NAB law has been changed and Gazette notification has been issued. After these amendments, NAB has been restricted to deal with decisions of the Federal or Provincial Cabinet, their Committees or Sub-Committees Council of Common Interests (CCI), National Economic Council (NEC), National Finance Commission (NFC), Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), Central Development Working Party (CDWP), Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP), Departmental Development Working Party (DDWP), the State Bank of Pakistan and such other bodies except where the holder of the public office has received a monetary gain as a result of such decision.
As per new NAB law, all matters pertaining to Federal, Provincial or Local taxation, other levies or imposts, including refunds, or loss of exchequer pertaining to taxation are now out of NAB’s ambit.
According to new NAB law, A property shall only be held as a Benami property when the accused has paid the consideration of the property and holds title documents and possession of the property with the intention and object of executing a Benami transaction.
By making changes in NAB law, section 23 is also omitted which was bearing an accused person, or any relative or associate of the accused person from transferring property during NAB/court inquiry, investigation or proceedings.
The definition of “asset” has also been altered. In the older version “asset” was defined as any property owned, controlled by or belonging to any accused, whether directly or indirectly, or held benami in the name of his spouse or relatives or associates, whether within or outside Pakistan. As per new law, “asset” includes all kinds of property owned by or belonging to an accused or held as benami whether within or outside Pakistan.
In n older version, Chairman NAB has the powers to arrest an accused at any stage of inquiry or investigation but now this procedure is also altered and now an arrest can only be ordered if a person refuses to join the inquiry/investigation or attempts to abscond.
For many legal minds, after these major amendments, NAB is now a toothless institution and all these amendments will benefit the ruling families, their key ministers and aides.