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KP courts send 130 cases back to NAB after legal reforms

Accountability courts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are now left with only 11 cases for ruling following recent significant changes to the anti-graft law, which caused the return of roughly 130 references to the National Accountability Bureau in the last couple of months due to a lack of jurisdiction.

Eight accountability courts exist in the province, but only five of them—all in Peshawar—are now in operation.

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The National Accountability (Amendment) Act, 2022 and National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act, 2022, which were passed by parliament earlier this year and published in the official gazette on June 22 and August 16, respectively, both made significant changes to the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

The most significant change was made to Section 5(O) of the NAO to define the offense of corruption and corrupt practices as one involving an amount not less than Rs500 million, according to local media reports.

Following the law’s revisions, the defendants in various cases with suspected corruption of less than Rs 500 million formally requested their release under Section 265-K of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

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However, the accountability courts referred those references to the NAB for placement before “other appropriate courts available under the law,” rather than clearing them.

On a few of those referrals, the judges ruled that the NAB was not authorized to investigate claims of corruption or corrupt behavior, and an accountability court was not authorized to hear such cases.

The aforementioned Acts stated that the modifications to the legislation should be considered to have become effective as of the NAO, 1999, giving the aforementioned amendments also retrospective effect.


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