ISLAMABAD  -     Expressing concerns over incompetence and dealings of the National Accountability Bureau, the Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned whether the accountability watchdog is accountable to anyone.

Heading a three-judge bench, Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked the prosecutor why the NAB brings embarrassment to its Chairman Justice (Retd) Javaid Iqbal.

He grilled NAB prosecutor and asked why the accountability watchdog wants that its chairman be summoned again and again, adding he (the Chairman NAB) had been an honourable judge of this court and perhaps directors have been deciding the issues with connivance and without bringing them into his knowledge.

“Is there any institution to look over the matters pertaining to NAB,” questioned Justice Ahmed adding, “who will conduct the audit of NAB?”

The three-judge bench, whose members include Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, lambasted NAB during the hearing of a case pertaining to alleged corruption of billions of rupees in the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL).

The bench gave a good dressing down to the accountability watchdog after it noted that no progress has so far been made on the matter pertaining to the arrest of prime accused Mohsin Habib in the scam. 

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been investigating the scam. However, the matter was transferred to NAB on the directives of top court.

During the proceedings, the bench asked whether Habib has been arrested.  In response, NAB prosecutor informed the bench that this court had restrained it from arresting him through its order.

Justice Ahsan remarked that the court had restrained from arresting him for only two days so that he approaches the court but he did not. “The law should have taken its course,” he remarked.

Justice Ahmed observed that it is a serious case and the accused is moving freely.  The bench was informed that Habib was summoned by NAB and he appeared before the accountability watchdog.

“Then he would have been served with the tea and cake,” Justice Ahmed sarcastically remarked.

NAB prosecutor again contended that Habib’s application is pending before this court and it is for this reason he was not arrested.

Justice Ahmed raised serious questions on the working and competency of NAB.

He said that Prosecutor General NAB had put his appearance before this court and the court left the matter on NAB to deal with and submit its report.

He expressed anger and observed that the matter in hand is a mega scandal despite this the accused has not been arrested.

“What is the problem with NAB? Everything is wrong in NAB,” observed Justice Ahmed and further remarked that NAB fears to touch the influential people.

He observed that influential people have been moving freely despite looting the exchequer while the accountability watchdog is after insignificant people.

Justice Ahsan remarked that Habib was an absconder and had not approached any court for relief so he should have been arrested.

The bench asked whether his name is placed on Exit Control List (ECL).

NAB prosecutor was unaware of the status but the law officer representing federal government informed the bench that his name is placed on ECL.

Justice Ahsan expressed wonder that NAB has no knowledge as to whether the name of the accused person is on ECL.

The bench directed Habib to appear before the bench in-person. Prosecutor General NAB has also been directed to appear before the bench on next date of hearing.

The bench directed NAB to explain and justify on the next date of hearing as to why Habib has not been arrested.

The bench also directed the accountability watchdog to submit its report duly signed by Chairman NAB Justice (Retd) Javaid Iqbal and adjourned hearing till next week.