ISLAMABAD - Anti-graft body -- the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) -- does not see any difference in its role and scope of functions as per constitutional mandate irrespective of changes in the law.

Critics had dubbed the government’s move to amend the accountability law through an ordinance as the “mother of all NROs” but the NAB seems all set to fight the menace of corruption in accordance with the new laws.

The changes introduced by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government were criticized by the opposition and there was a debate: who is going to be the beneficiary of the move. But the NAB said it would follow the procedure and implement the laws related to it.

Sources in the Bureau told The Nation that as an institution, NAB cannot deny to any law or amendment in the NAB Ordinance made by the Parliament whosoever will get benefit under the shadow of an amendment in the Ordinance.

They said NAB always follows its laws and it starts investigation against anyone on the basis of facts.

According to the NAB Amendment Ordinance 2019, the Bureau cannot freeze properties of government employees without court order. If NAB fails to complete investigation against a suspect within three months, the accused will be entitled to bail.

The NAB jurisdiction over matters relating to imports and levy has been curtailed.

Interestingly, after few days of the approval of amendment in NAB laws, politicians and bureaucrats who are facing corruption references have started seeking relief under it from accountability courts.

According to documents, Abdul Ghani Majeed, the principal accused in the fake bank accounts and money laundering case, Minahal Majeed, senior leader of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Liaquat Ali Jatoi, PPP senior leader Sharjeel Inam Memon, Hassan Aly Memon and Ghulam Shabbir are among those who have filed applications before Accountability Courts seeking acquittal with the plea that the new NAB ordinance has provided relief to public office holders.  However, filing of such applications by the accused facing references has created resentment in the NAB and its legal team is preparing its future line of action to counter the appeals of the accused persons.

Talking to The Nation on condition of anonymity, a NAB official said that the investigation in the corruption cases against PTI ministers and KP government officials in Malamjaba, BRT and others have also been finalized and the Bureau is all set to file corruption references in these cases soon.

He mentioned that PTI should have taken steps seeking an amendment in the NAB Ordinance after resuming the charge of government. He recalled and said that most of the ministers of the incumbent government had predicted the arrest of opposition leaders and later defended and appreciated the NAB performance.

He admitted that the Bureau could not speed up the investigation of cases against PTI ministers and KP government officials as compared to the cases of opposition parties’ leaders.