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Friday Oct 7, 2022

Anti-graft body in Pakistan won't probe graft cases


Nepalnews
ANI
2022 Sep 22, 13:39, Islamabad
Representative image (Photo: ANI)

 Pakistan's anti-graft body will not take up corruption cases, involving an amount of less than PKR500 million as it decided to implement the new amendments to the law, local media reported on Thursday.

In a statement issued after a meeting chaired by NAB Chairman Aftab Sultan, the accountability watchdog said it will also stay away from cases in which less than 100 people were scammed or affected.

"It was reiterated that newly promulgated law will be implemented in letter and spirit. Cognisance of cases involving corruption for the amount above PKR500 million or at least 100 affected persons... will be taken up," Dawn reported citing the official press release.

Recently, accountability courts sent back several references, including the one against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz to the NAB chairman, citing the amended legislation and with a direction to place it before a court of competent jurisdiction.

It is pertinent to mention that almost all the references were against those who were linked with the incumbent coalition government led by PM Sharif, Dawn reported citing a source.

NAB claims to go 'by the book' after courts return references citing jurisdiction under recently amended laws.

Earlier, the former NAB Punjab director Farooq Hameed had said that it would have been better for the government to shut the bureau instead of introducing such sweeping legislation to defang it, reported Dawn.

PM Shehbaz and Punjab CM Hamza Shehbaz were indicted in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case in 2020, reported Geo News.

In its reference, the NAB had alleged that Shehbaz, then the chief minister of Punjab, had issued a directive for the construction of a drain in Chiniot district, mainly for the use of Ramzan Sugar Mills, which is owned by his sons. It said Rs 200 million was spent on the drain of the public money.

Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in December 2021 submitted the challan against Shehbaz and Hamza before the special court for their alleged involvement in laundering an amount of Rs 16 billion in the sugar scam case, according to Geo News.

The FIA report added that the amount was kept in "hidden accounts" and given to Shehbaz in a personal capacity.

The FIA booked them in the case under sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act, and the Anti-Money Laundering Act in November 2020. 

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