Pak SC | National Accountability Ordinance: Special law for combating white-collar crimes – no provision for bail therein  

Supreme Court of Pakistan: The Three-Judge Bench of Mian Saqib Nisar, HCJ; Mushir Alam and Ijaz Ul Ahsan, JJ., allowed the petition filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the order granting bail to a person accused of laundering money in a scheme pertaining to army personnel.

A company – Globaco Pvt. Ltd. – under an arrangement with Defence Housing Authority (DHA) launched a subsidized scheme for army personnel. DHA, Lahore filed a complaint against the company alleging diversion of funds received from the public. NAB started an investigation into the said transaction. During the course of the investigation, it was revealed that respondent was Director in a company Orange Properties Pvt. Ltd., which was the holding company of Globaco Pvt. Ltd.

It was the case of NAB that respondent had enriched himself by diverting colossal sums of money received from the public, into accounts of various companies of which he was, directly and indirectly, the beneficiary. Consequent to his arrest by NAB, the respondent filed a writ petition wherein the learned Judge released him on bail. The said order was assailed by way of present petition.

The Court observed that the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 is a special law enacted with an objective to combat the white-collar crime of high magnitude. All offences under the Ordinance are non-bailable. It was opined that where persons handling the affairs of a corporate entity use a legal attire to carry out any commercial activity and commit any wrong, then NAB has authority to lift the veil of incorporation and trace the mastermind behind such façade. Relying on Nisar Ahmed v. State, 2015 SCC OnLine Pak 136 it was held that powers for the grant of bail in such cases must be exercised strictly.

In view of the above, the impugned order was set aside.[National Accountability Bureau v. Murad Arshad, Civil Petition No. 1707 of 2018, Order dated 22-10-2018]

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