Sahiwal Rental Power reference: Mere irregularity cannot be declared as crime

APP
July 03, 2020

ISLAMABAD: An Accountability Court Thursday issued written order in a case pertaining to acquittal of former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and others in Sahiwal Rental Power reference.AC-I...

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ISLAMABAD: An Accountability Court (AC) Thursday issued written order in a case pertaining to acquittal of former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and others in Sahiwal Rental Power reference.

AC-I Judge Muhammad Bashir issued the written order the other day. It said former prime minister Pervaiz Ashraf had been acquitted under National Accountability Bureau (NAB) (Amendment) Ordinance 2019. The court said the application filed under the ordinance could be entertained even after expiry of law in accordance with the Article 264 of the Constitution.

The ordinance was active when Raja Ashraf and other accused had filed the acquittal petitions. It further said reference pertaining to misuse of powers against the accused could not be established under NAB (Amendment) Ordinance 2019. The seven percent down payment given to the rental power company had been taken back in accordance with the witness, the order said.

In light of the Supreme Court orders, the NAB had to view whether the accused had received any financial benefit from the project. The court said NAB had not produced any evidence proving that the accused had taken any kickbacks, adding mere irregularity could not be declared as a crime.

The order said initial type of burden of proof was on NAB s shoulder to launch a trial against the accused nominated in the reference. It was necessary for the prosecution to first satisfy the court whether that case could be prepared or not.

It may be mentioned here that the NAB had named Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, former finance minister Shaukat Tareen, former secretary of water and power Shahid Rafi, ex-secretary of establishment Ismail Qureshi, former MD of PEPCO Tahir Basharat Cheema, co-accused Muhammad Sleem Arif, Chaudhry Abdul Qadeer, Iqbal Ali Shah, Wazir Ali and Mali Razi in the reference.



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