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January 31, 2018

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Panama JIT member’s posting as DG NAB raises questions

Panama JIT member’s posting as DG NAB raises questions

ISLAMABAD: Panama Papers' case Joint Investigation Team member Irfan Naeem Mangi’s posting as director general National Accountability Bureau Rawalpindi has raised many eyebrows as the Sharif family had severe reservations of the WhatsApp calls-fame JIT and its findings and NAB Rawalpindi is handling the references filed as a result of the SC judgement in Panama Papers case. Now the tainted Mangi would oversee the references filed against the Sharif family.

Mangi has remained in the news for quiet sometime as he was made part of the JIT just a day after he was served a show-cause notice by NAB on the orders of the Supreme Court for being hired illegally which could have resulted in his termination from service. The Supreme Court in its July 28th 2017 judgement held that the services of the JIT members be protected. His case became an interesting case as not only the past disciplinary proceedings against him were halted but no fresh proceeding could be initiated after different benches of the apex court gave conflicting rulings and observations about him. In one case, regarding illegal appointments in NAB, a three-member bench of the SC in March last year sacked four DGs of NAB and directed a three-member committee under the establishment secretary to proceed against more than 140 officials of the bureau, including Irfan Mangi, in regard to their illegal appointments and promotions.

In the Panama Papers' case verdict handed down by a five-member bench of the apex court in July 2017, the apex court saved Mangi from any disciplinary proceedings as it directed the government and all concerned that the tenure of service of all the JIT members shall be safeguarded and protected and no adverse actions of any nature, including transfer and posting, shall be taken against them without informing the monitoring judge of the court nominated by the CJP in the Panama case.

Mangi was given a show-cause notice on April 25, 2017 on the orders of Supreme Court of Pakistan because his recruitment was considered illegal as he was not even qualified for being under-educated and having less experience for the position he was appointed to. Two days later on April 27, under strange but unexplained conditions, the NAB chief recommended to the SC a panel of officers including Mangi for the JIT. The JIT chief in his initial objections had told the apex court that NAB was creating hurdles in JIT's smooth functioning as it had issued a show-cause notice to Mangi. NAB responded to JIT's allegation by submitting its strong response along with all documentary evidences that in fact Mangi was given a show-cause notice for 'removal from service' on April 25 in the light of the apex court judgment on illegal appointments in NAB while the bureau recommended Mangi on April 27 and the JIT was constituted on May 5, 2017.

The show-cause issued to Irfan Mangi on 25th April 2017 reads: "You are informed through this notice that your initial appointment in NAB as Deputy Director was inconsistent with TSC 8.02 & NAO, 2002 on account of the following: - "The experience certificate from previous department does not indicate if it is acquired in the fields of investigation/inquiries/ research/legal matters”.

While hearing Balochistan NAB case in September last year, Justice Dost Mohammad Khan, who was heading the bench, remarked that Mangi had been facing disciplinary proceedings before being nominated to join the JIT. Justice Khan deplored that the Balochistan NAB chief was now being hailed as a hero because of his involvement in the JIT. The SC also observed that the Bureau had been unable to pursue several corruption references due to Mr Mangi's sheer negligence. Another honourable member of the same bench Justice Qazi Faez Isa remarked that Mangi might be implicated as a co-accused in the corruption case against Kakar and the former food deputy director because of his negligence. However, Justice Khan pointed out that since a bench of the apex court had passed an order to protect Mangi's tenure, he could not be taken to task.

The special probe committee in illegal appointments case in the NAB has referred the case of illegal appointment of JIT member Irfan Mangi to the SC as the court order had barred the departments to ensure service protection of the JIT members.

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