ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday declared the notification of federal government related to suspension of outgoing Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) Tahir Mehmood as illegal.
Besides declaring the suspension orders as illegal, Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi held that the inquiry proceedings initiated against him were “tainted with malafide (intentions)”.
It is worth mentioning here that AGPR Tahir Mehmood has retired on April 05, 2014 after attaining the age of superannuation. Earlier, the federal government had suspended the AGPR for a period of three months on December 18.
In his petition before the IHC, the AGPR contended against his suspension that he was suspended because he had sent three references against the secretary finance to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and asked the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) not to release any amount to the federal government through the Federal Consolidated Fund (FCF).
The same IHC bench had suspended his suspension orders on December 20, 2013 after the AGPR had challenged his suspension orders before the court.
Then, the government sent him on forced leave and the IHC bench had also annulled the forced leave orders. Later, the government initiated an inquiry against him.
In the verdict of the petition against the inquiry, the IHC bench observed that the inquiry officer did not issue any warning to the AGPR before initiation of proceedings. “It is astonishing to note that except oral version for availability of record, neither such warning seems to have been communicated to the petitioner nor the federal government is able to show any material with regard to such allegation,” said the judgement.
The court said, “Under the circumstances narrated above, instant writ petition is allowed. Consequently, all the inquiry proceedings initiated by the inquiry officer are declared to be illegal, ultra vires, without lawful authority, hence the same are set aside. The inquiry officer who earlier conducted the proceedings, shall not continue, rather inquiry proceedings would be conducted by appointing a new inquiry officer.”
It is to mention here that the establishment division in February this year initiated an inquiry against the AGPR on disciplinary grounds.
The petitioner told the court that the federal government was not happy with him for advising the SBP governor not to issue direct advance to the federal government from the FCF. He added that the federal government was also not happy with him due to the fact that he had sent references against Finance Secretary Waqar Masood to the NAB for releasing Rs 317 billion to oil marketing companies in shady manner, making payments of billions of rupees to private contractor M/s AIRRS against the procurement rules for the construction of a hospital and hostel in Afghanistan has also been forwarded to the NAB by the AGPR and the release of billions of rupees for procurement of polio vaccines through UNICEF.
The federal government through its counsel Hafiz SA Rehman had adopted before the court that Tahir Mehmood was suspended because the government wanted to conduct an inquiry against him in a fair and transparent manner.
In this connection, Justice Qureshi suggested the government if it wanted to launch a fresh inquiry against Mehmood, it should appoint a new inquiry officer.