The News International
PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission (KPEC) has no power to take up the complaint filed against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s dissident lawmaker Ayesha Gulalai because the case involves an amount less than Rs50 million.
PTI Lakki Marwat district president Saleem Nawaz Khan, along with former PTI candidate for PK-76 constituency Engineer Arif Marwat and Noor Zaman, the personal assistant to Member National Assembly (MNA) Ayesha Gulalai, had submitted the complaint accompanied by some documents to the Ehtesab Commission.
The complainants claimed that as per the documents Ayesha Gulalai had allegedly received commission valued at less than Rs15 million either herself or through her father in various development schemes in Bannu district.
The local PTI leaders submitted the complaint against her in the Ehtesab Commission without knowing that their own PTI-led provincial government on August 3, 2016 passed the KP Ehtesab Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that curtailed its powers, especially in the ongoing schemes of the government.
After the amendment, the Directorate General of the Commission can now take up a project only if it involves an amount of Rs50 million or above while other cases shall be referred to the Anti-Corruption Establishment.
Qazi Jawad Ihsanullah, a Supreme Court lawyer who mostly deals with the KP Ehtesab Commission and NAB cases, told The News that after the amendment the Ehtesab Commission has no power to take up a corruption case of less than Rs50 million.
Asked if the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) could take up the case against Ayesha Gulalai, he said that though there was no law that restricted the NAB from probing or filing reference less than Rs50 million, the Supreme Court in some cases observed that it too should not take up cases involving less than Rs100 million.
“I don’t think that the NAB would take up the case of Ayesha Gulalai as the amount mentioned is even less than Rs15 million,” he added.
In September 2016, the Supreme Court had directed the director general and the prosecutor general of NAB to appear before the court with details of inquiries, investigations and references involving Rs1 million or below and explain filing of an appeal contrary to the NAB’s own standard operating procedure that made it clear that it cannot take up matters involving an amount below Rs100m.
After the apex court’s observations, the NAB in its meeting had decided that it shall pursue cases and undertake investigation in matters where an amount over Rs100 million is involved. Meanwhile, the NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said in a press release that the complaint against Ayesha Gulalai was a routine matter and it would be processed as per the law.
Noor Zaman, claiming to be Ayesha Gulalai’s personal assistant, could not give a satisfactory reply when asked why he and others did not raise the issue of corruption against her before she held the press conference in which she accused PTI Chairman Imran Khan of sending inappropriate messages to her.