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NATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY BUREAU ORDINANCE

No. XVIII of 1999

November 16, 1999

Amended by: ORDINANCE NO XIX OF 1999,ORDINANCE NO IV OF 2000

AN ORDINANCE to provide for the setting up of a National Accountability Bureau so as to eradicate corruption and corrupt practices and hold accountable all those persons accused of such practices and matters ancillary thereto;

WHEREAS it is expedient and necessary to provide for effective measures for the detection, investigation, prosecution and speedy disposal of cases involving corruption, corrupt practices, misuse/abuse of power, misappropriation of property, kickbacks, commissions and for matters connected and ancillary or incidental thereto;

AND WHEREAS there is an emergent need for the recovery of outstanding amounts from those persons who have committed default in the repayment of amounts to Banks, Financial Institutions, government and other agencies;

AND WHEREAS there is a grave and urgent need for the recovery of state money and other assets from those persons who have misappropriated or removed such assets through corruption, corrupt practices and misuse of power and/or authority;

AND WHEREAS it is necessary that a National Accountability Bureau be set up so as to achieve the above aims;

AND WHEREAS the National Assembly and the Senate stand suspended in pursuance of the Proclamation of the Fourteenth day of October 1999 and the Provisional Constitution Order No. 1 of 1999, as amended;

AND WHEREAS the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which renders it necessary to take immediate action;

NOW THEREFORE, in pursuance of the aforesaid Proclamation and Provisional Constitutional Order as well as Order No. 9 of 1999, and in exercise of all powers enabling him in that behalf, the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is pleased to make and promulgate the following Ordinance:-

1

Title

This Ordinance may be called the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance, 1999 (No XVIII of 1999).

 

2

Commencement

This Ordinance shall come into force at once and shall be deemed to have come into force from the 1st day of January 1985.

 

3

Ordinance to override other laws

The provisions of this Ordinance shall have effect notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force.

 

4

Application

It extends to the whole of Pakistan and shall apply to all persons in Pakistan, and persons who are or have been in the service of Pakistan wherever they may be, including areas which are part of Federally and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas.

 

5

Definitions

 

a

"Accused" shall include a person in respect of whom there are reasonable grounds to believe, is or has been involved in the commission of any offence triable under this Ordinance and/or is subject of an investigation/inquiry by the National Accountability Bureau, or concerned Agency.

 

b

"Appropriate Government" means in relation to any person serving in connection with the affairs of the Federation, including any person employed by a corporation, body, financial institution, bank, authority undertaking or any other organization set up, controlled or administered by or under the authority of the Federal Government or the Provincial Government concerned.

 

c

"Assets" means 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, for which they cannot reasonably account, or for which they cannot prove payment of full and lawful consideration.

 

d.

"Associates" means:-

i.

any individual who is or has been managing the affairs for or keeping accounts of the accused or who enjoys or has enjoyed any benefit from the assets referred to above.

ii.

any association of persons, body of individuals, partnership firms or private limited companies within the meaning of Companies Ordinance 1984, of which such a person is or has been a member, partner or director or which have been promoted, floated, established or run by the same group of persons.

iii.

any trustee of a Private Trust.

iv.

any person who ostensibly holds or is in possession or custody of any property of an accused on his behalf for the benefit and enjoyment of the accused.

 

e.

"Chairman National Accountability Bureau" means a person who is appointed as such by the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as mentioned in Section 6 (b) hereafter.

 

f.

"Code" means the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.

 

fa.

"Conciliation Committee" means the Conciliation Committee constituted under section 25A;

 

g.

"Court" means an Accountability Court which shall consist of a Judge who shall be appointed by the President of Pakistan after consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan through notification in the official Gazette.

 

h.

"Judge" means a person who has been a Judge of the High Court, is, or has been a District & Sessions Judge qualified to be a Judge of the High Court or any lawyer who is qualified to be a Judge of the High Court.

 

j.

"Deputy Chairman" means the person appointed as Deputy Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau by the Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

 

k.

"National Accountability Bureau" means the Bureau set up and notified under this Ordinance, (hereinafter known as NAB).

 

l.

"Freezing" includes attachment, sealing, prohibition, holding, controlling and/or managing any property either through a Receiver or otherwise as may be directed by the Court or Chairman NAB, and in case it is deemed necessary the disposal thereof, by sale through auction or negotiation subject to confirmation by the Court or by Chairman National Accountability Bureau as the case may be after public notice.

 

m.

"Holder of Public Office" means a person who :-

i.

has been the President of Pakistan or the Governor of a Province.

ii.

is, or has been the Prime Minister, Chairman Senate, Speaker of the National Assembly, Deputy Speaker National Assembly, Federal Minister, Minister of State, Attorney General and other Law Officer appointed under the Central Law Officers Ordinance, 1970 (VII of 1970), Advisor to the Prime Minister, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Federal Parliamentary Secretary, Member of Parliament, Auditor General, Political Secretary, Advisor or Consultant to the Prime Minister and holds or has held a post or office with the rank or status of a Federal Minister or Minister of State;

iii.

is, or has been, the Chief Minister, Speaker Provincial Assembly, Deputy Speaker Provincial Assembly, Provincial Minister, Advisor to the Chief Minister, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister, Provincial Parliamentary Secretary, Member of the Provincial Assembly, Advocate General including Additional Advocate General and Assistant Advocate General, Political Secretary, Advisor or Consultant to the Chief Minister and who holds or has held a post or office with the rank or status of a Provincial Minister;

iv.

is holding, or has held, an office or post in the service of Pakistan, or any service in connection with the affairs of the Federation, or of a Province, or of a local council constituted under any Federal or Provincial law relating to the constitution of local councils, or in the management of corporations, banks, financial institutions, firms, concerns, undertakings or any other institution or organization established, controlled or administered by or under the Federal Government or a Provincial Government, other than a person who is a member of any of the armed forces of Pakistan, or for the time being is subject to any law relating to any of the said forces, except a person who is, or has been a member of the said forces and is holding, or has held, a post or office in any public corporation, bank, financial institution, undertaking or other organization established, controlled or administered by or under the Federal Government or a Provincial Government;

v.

is, or has been, the Chairman or Vice Chairman of a zila council, a municipal committee, a municipal corporation or a metropolitan corporation constituted under any Federal or Provincial law relating to local councils.

For the purpose of this sub-clause the expressions "Chairman" and "Vice Chairman" shall include "Mayor" and "Deputy Mayor" as the case may be, and the respective councilors therein.

vi.

has served in and retired or resigned from or has been discharged or dismissed from the Armed Forces of Pakistan.

 

n.

"Offence" means the offences of corruption and corrupt practices as defined in this Ordinance and includes those offences as specified in the Schedule to this Ordinance.

 

o.

"PERSON" includes in the case of a corporate body, the sponsors, Chairman, Chief Executive, Managing Director, elected Directors, by whatever name called, and guarantors of the company or any one exercising direction or control of the affairs of such corporate body, but will not include employees appointed and designated as Director or Chief Executive; and in the case of any firm, partnership or sole proprietorship, the partners, proprietor or any person having interest in the said firm, partnership or proprietorship concern or direction or control thereof.

 

p.

"Property" includes any or all movable and immovable properties situated within or outside Pakistan.

 

q.

"Government Property" means both moveable & immovable properties belonging to the Government and includes gifts, donations, financial assistance, grants, aid received or collected in whatever name or for whatever purpose during the tenure of office.

 

r.

"Wilful Default": a person is said to commit an offence of wilful default under this Ordinance if he does not pay or return or repay the amount to any bank, financial institution, cooperative society, or a Government department or a statutory body or an authority established or controlled by a Government on the date that it became due according to the laws, rules, regulations, instructions, issued or notified by a bank, including the State Bank of Pakistan, financial institution, cooperative society, Government Department, statutory body or an authority established or controlled by a Government, as the case may be, and a period of thirty days has expired thereafter:

Provided that it is not wilful default under this Ordinance if the accused was unable to pay, return or repay the amount as aforesaid on account of any wilful breach of agreement or obligation or failure to perform statutory duty on the part of any bank, financial institution, cooperative society or a Government department or a statutory body or an authority established or controlled by Government.

 

6.

National Accountability Bureau

 

a.

There shall be constituted a National Accountability Bureau for the whole of Pakistan.

 

b.

Chairman National Accountability Bureau

 

i.

There shall be a Chairman NAB to be appointed by the President.

ii.

The Chairman NAB shall be appointed on such terms and conditions and shall have the status and privileges as may be determined by the President.

iii.

The Chairman NAB may resign his office by writing under his hand addressed to the President.

 

c.

Acting Chairman, National Accountability Bureau

As and when the Chairman NAB is absent or unable to perform the functions of his office due to any reason whatsoever, the Deputy Chairman will act as the Chairman NAB, and in case the Deputy Chairman is absent or unable to perform the functions of the office, any other person duly authorized by the Chairman NAB, to act as Chairman NAB.

 

7.

Deputy Chairman, National Accountability Bureau

 

a.

There shall be a Deputy Chairman NAB appointed by the President in consultation with the Chairman NAB. The Deputy Chairman shall assist the Chairman in the performance of his duties and carry out such functions as may be directed by the Chairman.

 

b.

The Deputy Chairman shall serve at the pleasure of the President.

 

8.

Prosecutor General Accountability.

 

a.

The Chairman NAB may appoint any person to act as the Prosecutor General Accountability, notwithstanding any other appointment or office the latter may concurrently hold, upon such terms and conditions as may be determined by the Chairman.

 

b.

The Prosecutor General shall give advice to the Chairman NAB upon such legal matters and perform such other duties of a legal character as may be referred or assigned to him by the Chairman NAB and in the performance of his duties, he shall have the right of audience in all Courts established under this Ordinance and all other Courts and Tribunals in Pakistan.

 

c.

The Prosecutor General Accountability Bureau, in consultation with the Attorney General of Pakistan, may, with prior approval of the Chairman NAB, appoint Special Prosecutors to conduct prosecution of specific cases under this Ordinance, before any Accountability Court or any other Court or Tribunal.

 

9.

Corruption and Corrupt Practices

 

a.

A holder of a public office, or any other person, is said to commit or to have committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices:-

i.

If he accepts or obtains from any person or offers any gratification directly or indirectly, other than legal remuneration, as a motive or reward such as is specified in section 161 of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860) for doing or for-bearing to do any official act, or for showing or forbearing to show, in the exercise of his official functions, favour or disfavour to any person, or for rendering or attempting to render any service or disservice to any person; or

ii.

If he accepts or obtains or offers any valuable thing without consideration, or for a consideration which he knows to be inadequate, from any person whom he knows to have been, or likely to be, concerned in any proceeding or business transacted or about to be transacted by him, or having any connection with his official functions or from any person whom he knows to be interested in or related to the person so concerned; or

iii.

If he dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriates or otherwise converts for his own use, or for the use of any other person, any property entrusted to him, or under his control, or willfully allows any other person so to do; or

iii.

If he by corrupt, dishonest, or illegal means, obtains or seeks to obtain for himself, or for his spouse and/or dependents or any other person, any property, valuable thing, or pecuniary advantage; or

v.

If he or any of his dependents or benamidars owns, possesses, or has any right or title in any movable or immovable property or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, which he cannot reasonably account for; or

vi.

Misuses his authority so as to gain any benefit or favour for himself or any other person, or to render or attempt to do so;

vii.

If he has issued any directive, policy, or any SRO (Statutory Regulatory Order) or any other order which grants or enables any concession or benefit in any taxation matter or law or otherwise so as to benefit himself or any relative or associate or a benamidar; or

vii.

if he commits an offence of willful default.

 

b.

All offences under this Order shall be non-bailable and, notwithstanding anything contained in sections 426, 491, 497, 498 and 561A or any other provision of the Code, or any other law for the time being in force no Court including the High Court shall have jurisdiction to grant bail to any person accused of any offence under this Order.

 

c.

Where the Chairman NAB decides to release from custody or detention a holder of a public office or any other person accused of an offence under this Ordinance, he shall do so after considering the gravity of the charge against such person and where the accusation specifies any amount in respect of which the offence is alleged to have been committed, he shall not be released unless such amount is deposited with the NAB;

Provided that the Chairman NAB may impose other conditions for release from custody or detention.

 

d.

The amount deposited by the accused with the NAB shall be transferred to the Federal Government or, as the case may be, a Provincial Government or the concerned bank or financial institution , etc, within one month of the date of such deposit.

 

10.

Punishment for Corruption and Corrupt Practices

 

a.

A person who commits the offence of corruption and corrupt practices shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 14 years, or with fine, or with both, and such of the assets and property of such person which is found to be disproportionate to the known sources of his income or which is acquired by money obtained through corruption and corrupt practices whether in his name or in the name of any of his dependents, or benamidars shall be liable to be forfeited to the appropriate Government.

 

b.

Any person giving illegal gratification, or abetting, assisting or aiding a holder of a public office, or receiving or holding any property obtained or acquired by a holder of public office, through corruption or corrupt practices, or being a beneficiary of any asset, property or gain obtained through corruption or corrupt practices shall fall within the scope of this section and shall be liable to the same or a lesser punishment that may be awarded to a holder of a public office as may be deemed fit by the Court.

 

11.

Imposition of Fine

Where a person found guilty of an offence is sentenced to pay a fine, irrespective of whether or not a sentence of imprisonment is imposed, the amount of the fine shall in no case be less than the gain derived by the accused or any relative or associate which may be set off against the forfeited or frozen assets and property.

 

12.

Power to freeze property

 

a.

The Chairman NAB or the Court trying a person for any offence as specified under this Ordinance, may, at any time, if there appear reasonable grounds for believing that the accused has committed such an offence, order the freezing of his property, movable or immovable, or part thereof, whether in his possession or in the possession of any relative, associate or person on his behalf;

 

b.

If the property ordered to be frozen under sub-section (a) is a debt or other movable property, the freezing may be made:-

i.

by seizure; or

ii.

by appointment of receiver; or

iii.

by prohibiting the delivery of such property to the accused or to anyone on his behalf; or

iv.

by all or any of such or other methods as the Court or the Chairman NAB as the case may be, deem fit;

 

c.

If the property ordered to be frozen is immovable, the freezing shall, in the case of land paying revenue, be made through the Collector of the district in which the land is situated, and in all other cases:-

i.

by taking possession; or

ii.

by appointment of receiver; or

iii.

by prohibiting the payment of rent or delivery of property to the accused or to any other person on his behalf; or

iv.

by all or any of such methods as the Chairman NAB or the Court may deem fit.

Provided that any Order of seizure, freezing, attachment or any prohibitory order mentioned above by the Chairman NAB, shall remain in force for a period not exceeding 30 days unless confirmed by the Accountability Court, where the Reference under this Order shall be sent by NAB.

Provided further that notwithstanding that the Order of NAB or the Court shall be effective from the time of passing thereof or proclamation thereof in a Newspaper, widely circulated and dispatch at the last known address of the accused.

 

d.

If the property ordered to be frozen consists of livestock or is of a perishable nature, the Chairman NAB, OR the Court may, if it deems proper and expedient, order the immediate sale thereof and the proceeds of the sale may be deposited with the Chairman NAB or the Court, or as either may direct as appropriate.

 

e.

The powers, duties, and liabilities of a Receiver, if any, appointed under this section shall be the same as those of a Receiver appointed under Order-XL of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908).

 

f.

That the Order of freezing etc. mentioned above in Section 12(a to e) shall, as the case may be, remain operative until final disposal by the Accountability Court or the Appellate Forum, notwithstanding filing of or pendency of an Appeal under this Order.

 

13.

Claim or objection against freezing

 

a.

Notwithstanding the provisions of any law for the time being in force, the Accountability Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to entertain and adjudicate upon all claims or objections against the freezing of any property under section 12 above. Such claims or objections shall be made before the Accountability Court within 14 days from the date of the order freezing such property.

 

b.

The Court may for sufficient cause extend the time for filing such claims or objections for a period not exceeding additional 14 days.

 

c.

No appeal shall lie against an Order made under Section 12 of this Ordinance.

 

14.

Presumption against accused accepting illegal gratification

 

a.

Where in any trial of a scheduled offence punishable under this Order, it is proved that an accused person has accepted or obtained, or has agreed to accept or attempted to obtain, for himself or for any other person any gratification, other than legal remuneration, or any valuable thing, or any pecuniary advantage from a person or any agent of a person, for any favour shown or promised to be shown by the accused, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that he accepted or obtained, or agreed to accept or attempted to obtain, that gratification or that valuable thing or pecuniary advantage for himself or some other person, as the case may be, as a motive or a reward such as is specified in section 161 to 163 of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860), or, as the case may be, without consideration, or for a consideration which he believed to be inadequate;

 

b.

Wherein any trial of an offence punishable under section 165A of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860) it is proved that any gratification other than legal remuneration or any valuable thing has been given, or offered to be given, or attempted to be given, by any accused person, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that he gave, or offered to give, or attempted to give, that gratification, or that valuable thing, as the case may be, as a motive or a reward such as is specified in section 161 to 163 of the said Code, or, as the case may be, without consideration or for a consideration which he believed to be inadequate.

 

c.

In any trial of an offence punishable under this Order, the fact tha t the accused person or any other person on his behalf, is in possession, for which the accused person cannot satisfactorily account, of property or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, or that such person has, at or about the time of the commission of the offence with which he is charged, obtained an accretion to his pecuniary resources or property for which he cannot satisfactorily account, the Court shall presume, unless the contrary is proved, that the accused person is guilty of the offence of corruption and/or corrupt practices and his conviction therefore shall not be invalid by reason only that it is based solely on such a presumption.

 

d.

Where a person is accused of an offence under section 9(a) (vi) and (vii), the burden of proof that he used his authority, or issued any directive, or authorised the issuance of any policy or statutory rule or order (SRO), or made any grant or allowed any concession, in the public interest, fairly, justly, and for the advancement of the purpose of the enactment under which the authority was used, directive or policy or rule or order was issued or grant was made or concession was allowed shall lie on him, and in the absence of such proof the accused shall be guilty of the offence, and his conviction shall not be invalid by the reason that it is based solely on such presumption.

 

15.

Disqualification to contest elections or to hold public office

 

a.

Where an accused person is convicted for the offence of corruption or corrupt practices as specified in the Schedule to this Ordinance, he shall stand disqualified for 21 years for seeking, or from being elected chosen appointed or nominated as a member or representative of any public office, or any statutory or local authority of the Government of Pakistan.

Provided that any accused person who has availed the benefit of sections 25 of this Ordinance shall also be deemed to have been convicted for an offence under this Ordinance, and shall stand disqualified for 21 years as above.

 

b.

Any person convicted of an offence of corruption and/or corrupt practices as described at serial No. 1 of the Schedule shall not be allowed to apply for or be granted or allowed any financial facilities in the form of any loan or advances from any Bank or Financial Institution in the public sector, for a period of 10 years from the date of conviction.

 

16.

Trial of Offences

 

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