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October 22, 2020

SC directs daily hearing of corruption cases

Top Story

October 22, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the accountability courts across the country to ensure hearing of corruption-related cases on daily basis and avoid delay in trials of references filed in cases.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard a case pertaining to delay in trial of cases by the accountability courts as well as a suo moto review petition on the court direction passed in cases regarding the grant of bail to co-accused.

During the hearing, the federal government informed the apex court that the federal cabinet will give approval of new 120 accountability courts within a week. The additional attorney general told the apex court that approval in this regard had been forwarded to the prime minister. The chief justice, however, reminded the law officer that this was already intimated to the court on the last hearing.

The law officer replied that the attorney general was meeting with the prime minister today for the approval of establishing 120 new accountability courts and, hopefully, the cabinet will give its approval within a week.

The law officer further informed the Supreme Court that all the existing 24 accountability courts are functional in the country, adding that there were no vacant seats in NAB courts as well.

The court directed that all the accountability courts should hear the corruption-related cases on daily basis, avoiding delay in the under trial references filed in different cases. Similarly, the court directed that the references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should be concluded at the earliest. The court further directed the chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to proceed with disciplinary action against those officials responsible for delaying the trial of the cases. Likewise, the court directed the anti-graft body to ensure production of all the witnesses in the cases, besides taking effective measures for strengthening the prosecution. At the outset of the hearing, the additional attorney general told the court, the Ministry of Law and Justice is examining the NAB laws. The court sought a comprehensive report from the Ministry of Law in this regard.

The court questioned as to why a permanent secretary was not yet appointed in the Ministry of Law after the acting law secretary appeared before the bench. The chief justice directed for ensuring the appointment of a permanent secretary in the ministry and remarked the ad-hoc system will not work.

Meanwhile, the court held that the case pertaining to the misappropriation in the construction of Lakhra Power Plant will be taken up on October 31 and statements of witnesses of prosecution will be recorded. Later, the court adjourned the hearing for a month.