President to appoint NAB chairman: Farogh

Islamabad: Federal Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Dr Farogh Naseem Wednesday said the president was the one who would appoint the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman after consultation with both, leaders of the house and opposition.

Dr Farogh Naseem expressed these views while addressing a press conference at the Press Information Department along with Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain.

Dr Farogh said the impression that there was a difference in his stance and that of the information minister, was false.

He said it was unfortunate that the opposition was doing politics on the NAB ordinance and added the president would consult the prime minister and opposition leader over the appointment.

“If no consensus is reached between them, the matter will then be sent to a parliamentary committee,” he said adding the body would be formed by the National Assembly’s speaker comprising six members each from opposition and treasury.

He said they would mull over the names of the incumbent and former NAB chairmen for the slot.

Further sharing details of the NAB ordinance, Farogh Naseem said thanks to the apex court, the trial court was now given the authority to grant bail to a suspect in accountability cases.

He said even people opting to voluntarily return the money would also be disqualified likewise plea bargain for any service for 10 years.

He said until the new chairman was appointed, Justice [rtd] Javed Iqbal would continue to serve as the bureau’s chief. “Let me make it clear that he [Iqbal] will be able to exercise all the powers, functions and authorities that a normal chairman has,” he added.

He said the prime minister, cabinet members and government believed that there should be a larger pool of candidates to select from.

The minister explained that the names of the candidates for NAB chairman would be sent to the president. “If, in case, the consultation between opposition and leader of the House turns out to be non-consensus, a parliamentary committee will be formed comprising six members from the government’s benches and six members from the opposition benches and the committee will be formed by the National Assembly speaker.”

He negated the impression that the bureaucracy and the businessmen were disturbed and they were unable to perform due to NAB.

He said the bureaucracy and businessmen were great assets of the country. He said the taxation matters would now be referred to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). He said FBR would be fully empowered to file and probe cases regarding taxation. He said there would be no jurisdiction of NAB to file a reference against any individual who was not linked with any public office holder.

He said tax payers and private individuals had been completely removed from the NAB jurisdiction.