ISLAMABAD - TERENCE J SIGAMONY - The tussle between Supreme Court and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been going on since 2009; however, the confrontation between apex court and anti-corruption watchdog reached to the peak when the a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chauhdry on New Year day resumed the proceedings regarding the implementation of court's March 30, 2012 judgement on RPPs. It is expected that the confrontation between the two institution would continue at least for this year.
The court expressed annoyance over the removal of NAB's investigation team, probing RPPs corruption case, and summoned the Principal Secretary to NAB Brigadier (Retd) Farooq Nasir Awan for misusing the SC's name in the removal of Investigating Officers (IOs).
Since 2009, according to Supreme Court observations, in the high profile cases like non-implementation of National Reconciliation Ordinance, Bank of Punjab scam, illegal appointment of former chairman OGRA and Rental Power Projects (RPPs) the NAB has show poor performance. One NAB's chairman, prosecutor generals and a few officials have became victim for non-compliance of NRO, while one chairman Justice (Retd) Deedar Hussain Shah and Prosecutor General Irfan Qadir were removed as the requirement under the law was not fulfilled in their appointment.
This year on January 15 the Supreme Court directed the NAB to arrest all the persons, including incumbent Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf involved in Rental Power Plants (RPP) scam and the submit report on next day. But the NAB on January 17 told the Supreme Court that still no evidence of corruptions was found against the accused in awarding the RPPs contracts.
One of the investigation officers, Kamran Faisal, who collected evidences against PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and had submitted a report committed suicide reportedly in the meanwhile.
The court taking suo moto notice over the mysterious death of him constituted a two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, and issued notice to NAB in this case. The NAB objected over the Supreme Court's suo motu proceedings in this matter, while Registrar Supreme Court refused to entertain NAB's application against its proceedings in this matter because it has contended that NAB had used scandalous language in it.
Chairman NAB Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari on January 28, in letter, complained to the President Asif Zardari that the Supreme Court is unnecessarily pressurizing the NAB officials in the investigation related to high profile matters, especially Rental Power Projects case. The NAB chairman said that if the concerns regarding the Supreme Court were not addressed expeditiously then he would be forced to resign.
The Supreme Court on January 31 issued another contempt of court notice to Chairman NAB for writing letter to president of Pakistan against the judiciary. The court observed that whatever, the Chairman NAB has expressed in his letter to the President tantamount to causing interfering with or to obstruct the process of the court and has also used certain expressions to scandalize the court and its performance that resulted to undermine the authority of the court and bring into hatred of general public, having confidence over the court.
The court in its order had ruled that Chairman NAB's letter should not be made the basis for taking unconstitutional steps on the part of the civilian or military institution or even the executive, adding that the parliamentary system was working according to the constitution and law in the country. The order also had ruled that the next general elections should be held according to the constitution
The court on February 4 rejected the NAB's plea regarding the constitution of a larger bench to hear the matter regarding the implementation of its March 30, 2012 judgment on Rental Power Projects (RPPs) corruption. It, however, gave one week to Chairman NAB Admiral (r) Fasih Bokhari to engage his counsel in the contempt of court case against him.
The court's proceeding in the matter related to the illegal appointment of former Chairman OGRA Tauqeer Sadiq is also irking the NAB officials in these days. The NAB instead of following the court order seems to not take action against them.