ISLAMABAD: The recent appointment of a retired BS-22 civil servant as DG NAB has been made in relaxation of the law and rules allowed by Prime Minister Imran Khan on the recommendation of NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which in the past has been probing matters relating to appointments made in relaxation of the rules, appointed the new DG NAB Jamil Ahmad, a retired BS-22 officer, following Javed Iqbal’s request to the prime minister that the officer’s appointment on contract basis for one year requires a “waiver of the condition of open advertisement” and “subject to all legal exceptions”.
The NAB spokesman when approached said that the appointment has been made in the interest of Bureau as the person appointed as the new DG has wide experience and will help improve the corruption watchdog’s capacity. He said that the rules can be relaxed by the competent authority and the same has been done in this case.
Official sources, however, object that under the rules of business and policy and the Estacode, the NAB chairman is not authorised to move a summary for the PM. Such a summary should have been moved by the federal law secretary as he is the top bureaucrat in the controlling ministry of NAB.
Under the rules, a committee headed by the minister and comprising the secretary concerned and head of department where the appointment is being made and the relevant Joint secretary administration has to review candidates and make recommendations to the PM after due process and advertisement.
In this case, a retired civil servant has been appointed on a contract basis directly by the NAB chairman after getting relaxation of the policy from the prime minister. The committee as given in the Estacode was neither formed nor did it review the matter.
These sources said that the Supreme Court of Pakistan, in the Haj corruption case, had banned such contract appointments at senior positions. It is said that the retired officer appointed has no experience of investigation or white-collar economic crime.
The appointment, it is said, also raises ethical questions about why such a sensitive responsibility — where the officer will be investigating and prosecuting cases of the PM’s opponents – is being given to an officer on contract, that too for just one year. Rather than giving a two-year contract as stated in the policy, a one-year contract is given so he remains a ‘daily wager ‘, a source commented.
On November 22, the NAB chairman moved a summary for the prime minister for the relaxation of rules required for the appointment of the DG on a contract basis in the Bureau. In his summary, the chairman explained that the NAB is charged with the task of eradicating corruption and corrupt practices through a holistic approach of awareness, prevention and enforcement. He added, there are a huge number of inquiries and investigations involving billions of rupees pending in NAB, besides ongoing trials of mega corruption cases in the courts.
The NAB chairman said that a number of posts of DG (BS21) have been lying vacant in the Bureau for quite some time. “Considering the exigencies of the apex position and importance of certain cases/ investigations, the posts of DG are required to be filled with professionals of higher calibre and relevant experience.”
To cope with such “exigencies”, the NAB chairman had forwarded to the PM a panel of three retired officers including Jamil Ahmad, a retired BS-22 officer of the Pakistan administrative service; M Altaf Bawany, a retired BS-21 officer of NAB, and Mujahid Akbar Baloch, a retired BS-20 officer of NAB.
While referring to the panel and their CVs, the chairman recommended the appointment of Jamil Ahmad, who according to Javed Iqbal has varied experience of serving in different public sector departments and served at various key positions.
“His contract appointment for one year in NAB will, however, require relaxation of the condition of open advertisement in terms of para 1(iv) of Establishment Division’s O.M. dated 06-05-2000,” read the summary, adding, “Approval of the prime minister is, therefore, solicited for waiver of condition of open advertisement for appointment of Mr Jamil Ahmad, a retired BS-22 civil servants as Director General in NAB on contract basis for one year, subject to all legal exceptions”.