NAB tells PAC PM asked chairman to not appear before any committee

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) claimed on Thursday that Prime Minister Imran Khan had barred NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal from appearing before parliamentary committees, including the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)

An in-camera session of the PAC was scheduled to be held today under the chairmanship of MNA Rana Tanveer Hussain, which the NAB chief did not attend

The reason for Iqbal’s absence was revealed in a letter written by NAB to the secretary of the assembly, that stated that PM Imran had approved “that the Director General would represent Chairman NAB in his capacity of Principal Accounting Officer, before the Parliamentary Committees, including the PAC, Constitutional and Statutory Bodies”

The letter maintained that the decision was made “in view of the statutory functions and responsibilities of the Chairman NAB”

Moreover, principal accounting officers were barred from appearing before constitutional bodies and autonomous bodies

Taking exception to the letter, PAC Chairman Rana Tanveer stated that he would write a letter to the Cabinet Division to verify NAB's letter

He added that the if the rules give the premier the power to choose the DG as a representative in place of the chairman then the committee will accept the letter

Read PAC quizzes NAB chief over recoveries Tanveer further said that the position of the chief justice of the Supreme Court was different from that of the NAB chairman, claiming that the latter should be held accountable

“If the government does not hold him accountable, there will be abuse of law

The money spent by the NAB chairman during his tenure will have to be accounted for,” he maintained

According to the PAC chairman, the cabinet secretary should have informed him by telephone and in writing whether the notification has been made in accordance with the law, and not because they are "dear to the prime minister"

He stated that they would have to observe what the law says, adding that the government should keep in mind that this would have “far-reaching impacts”

Member National Assembly Noor Alam Khan - who is a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf - in conversation with media said that the meeting was convened on the request of the NAB chairman, who had claimed that he would be present, and had even picked the date for the meeting himself

He claimed that it was wrong to involve the premier, because if the letter was from PM Imran then it would have come from his secretariat or the Cabinet Division

“NAB cannot write letters to the National Assembly,” he said

Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Sherry Rehman stated that the NAB chairman had himself last week asked the PAC to hold an in-camera meeting, where he said he would present the recovery figures himself

“This was a sensitive matter and all of us abandoned our work to come to this meeting because our party also highlighted the meeting’s importance,” she said

The senator maintained that the meeting was set according to the NAB chairman’s request, on his chosen date, and was in-camera because he had requested it to be

Read more Process to appoint NAB chairman marred by delay “We received a letter overnight regarding this decision,” she told the media

Taking to Twitter, Sherry Rehman added that “all members across the board with consensus found this unacceptable and advised the Chair PAC to terminate the meeting”

She further stated that “no one is above the law”

Today Chairman NAB had committed to presenting to PAC

But overnight a new Principal Accounting Officer has been appointed to “represent” him

All members across the board with consensus found this unacceptable, and advised Chair PAC to terminate the mtg

No one is above the law https://t

co/SBLPyUEsgU — SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) January 6, 2022   PPP MNA Naveed Qamar also claimed that thet NAB chairman did not want to be held accountable by parliamentary leaders, rather wanted them to to be accountable before him

“The federal cabinet does not have the power to bar the NAB chairman from attending the PAC,” he added

In a previous hearing, NAB chairman had assured the PAC that he would go home if he couldn’t satisfy it about the appropriation of accounts and progress report on NAB recoveries since its inception, in an in-camera briefing slated to be held on January 6, 2022

The assurance had come after the PAC had grilled him over unauthorised excess expenditure while suggesting to get it regularised from the National Assembly in the upcoming mini-budget as otherwise the amount was recoverable from NAB

During his last appearance before the highest accountability forum of the parliament, the NAB chairman had categorically said that there shouldn’t be any doubt that parliament was a supreme institution, adding his earlier absence didn't mean that he was a king who can’t appear before PAC

A copy of the NAB letter available with The Express Tribune

Date:07-Jan-2022 Reference:View Original Link