You are currently viewing The National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019

The National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister, on a summary submitted by Law & Justice Division on National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 has been pleased to desire its disposal by circulation in terms of rule 17(1)(b) of the Rules of Business, 1973.

The subject summary is being circulated accordingly for recording opinions and subsequent return to the Cabinet Di vision today, in terms of rule 17(1)(b) read with role 19(1) of the Rules of Business, 1973. In accordance with the Rules Ibid, if a minister does not communicate his/her opinion by that time, it shall be assumed that he/she accepts the recommendations contained in the summary.

Where it is expedient further to amend the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 (XVIII of 1999), for the purposes hereinafter appearing:

And whereas the Senate and the National Assembly are not in session and the President in satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action:

Now therefore, in exercise of powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 89 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the President is please to make and promulgate the following Ordinance:-

Short title and commencement: This Ordinance may be called the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019.

It shall come into force at once.

Amendment of section 4, Ordinance XVIII 1999.- In the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 (XVIII of 1999), hereinafter referred to as “the Ordinance”, for section 4, the following shall be substituted namely:-

Application.-(1) This Ordinance extends to the whole of Pakistan and shall apply to all persons, including those persons who are or have been in the service of Pakistan, except in respect of persons and transactions specified in sub-section (2).

The provisions of this Ordinance shall not apply to the following persons and transactions, namely:-

(a) Matter pertaining to Federal or Provincial taxation, levies or imposts. Upon the commencement of the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, all pending:-

(i) Inquiries and investigations shall stand transferred to the respective authorities or departments which administer the relevant laws of taxation, levies or imports in question: and

(ii) Inquiries and investigations shall stand transferred to the respective authorities or departments which administer the relevant laws of taxation, levies or imposts in question: and

(ii) Trials shall stand transferred from the relevant Accountability Courts to the criminal courts which deal with offences under the respective laws pertaining to taxation, levies or imposts in question:

(b) Any person or entity, or transaction in relation thereto, who or which are not directly or indirectly connected with a holder of public office, except offences falling under clauses (ix), (x) and (xi) of sub-section (a) of section 9;

(c) with regard to procedural lapses in any government project or scheme, no action under this Ordinance shall be taken against any holder of public office, unless it is shown that the holder of public office has materially benefited by gaining any asset or monetary benefited by gaining any asset or monetary benefit which is disproportionate to his known sources of income, or where such material benefit cannot be reasonably accounted for, and there is evidence to corroborate the acquiring of such material benefit; and

(d) With regard to any matter pertaining to the rendition of any advice, opinion or report, no action under this Ordinance shall be taken against any holder of public office, unless it is shown that the holder of public office has materially.

A relevant piece published earlier: 

NAB Amendment Ordinance challenged in Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: NAB Amendment Ordinance 2019 was challenged in the Supreme Court yesterday (Saturday 28th of December, 2019) by Mahmood Akhtar Naqvi under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution making the federation of Pakistan, Ministry of law and justice, NAB chairman, secretary interior, secretary foreign affairs and secretary Ministry of Defense as respondents.

Petitioner Mahmood Akhtar Naqvi prayed to the apex court to suspend the promulgation of the ordinance till the final decision on the petition. Petitioner contended that the ordinance was against Islam, the Constitution and law and promulgated on malafide intentions.

Mahmood Akhtar Naqvi further submitted that the ordinance was also against Article 25 of the Constitution, which said all the citizens were equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of law and there shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex.

Petitioner held that the NAB Amendment Ordinance 2019 was an effort to protect the corruption of politicians and government officials.

PPP-P has accused the incumbent government of protecting PM Imran Khan’s cronies by means of NAB Amendment Ordinance. PPP-P Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira speaking to the journalists at a Press Conference criticized the government’s decision to bring in amendments to the NAB, alleging: “In order to save their allies, they have introduced amendments in the NAB ordinance so that whether it is the Malam Jabba case or the BRT case, their party members remain safe.” 

Proclaiming that opposition would lodge a strong protest against the Ordinance in the Parliament, she stated: “If it was necessary to promulgate this ordinance, why the government brought it through the backdoor, as it was a scam bigger than Panama and the government should tell the names of those friends who were given immunity through this ordinance.”

According to PPP-P such an ordinance, which is related to a change in the NAB laws, should be discussed and agreed upon by all parties in Parliament. Nafisa Shah noted that by means of ‘accountability’ PTI was only targeting politicians while businessmen were being provided relief. Dr. Nafisa Shah further pointed out that the accountability of judges and military was already out of NAB’s scope.

Calling Imran Khan the ‘selected PM’,  Dr Nafisa Shah continued to accuse his government saying that the Ordinance was promulgated through the backdoor to benefit and give immunity to the accused in the Peshawar BRT and Malam Jabba from investigations.

Nafisa Shah said opposition would take up the issue in Parliament. PPP-P information secretary maintained that PM visit Karachi in order to weaken the provincial government and to make amends with his allies.

Opposition parties’ Rahber Committee also rejected the Ordinance saying it was meant to save the PM and his friends. Muhammad Akram Khan Durrani, the convener of Rahber Committee committee, held that promulgation of the NAB Ordinance was an insult to Parliament.

He observed that the Senate Standing Committee had passed the NAB bill unanimously but the Senate session had not been summoned for over three months to prevent the Upper House from taking up the legislation: “Instead, the NAB Ordinance, 2019 has been promulgated and the prime minister is telling good news to his friends that now their corruption will not be questioned.” 

Akram Durrani alleged that whoever spoke against the government’s corruption was nabbed by the Bureau. He was referring to the arrest of Ahsan Iqbal and a notice served on Bilawal Bhutto.

Focusing on the Special Court’s verdict against Pervez Musharraf, he said the judiciary was independent and if anybody had any grievance, they should file an appeal against it. Akram Durrani too criticized the PTI-government of attempting to stop FIA inquiry against Peshawar BRT.

News Pakistan

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.