ISLAMABAD -  The Supreme Court on Friday expressed annoyance over lethargic arguments presented by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) lawyer during the hearing of a case involving a housing society.

A three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Dost Muhammad Khan heard the NAB appeal against a housing society, whose owners committed millions of rupees fraud.

The housing society in Lahore collected millions of rupees from 2,000 people but did not allot plots to them. Some applicants had approached the NAB against the housing society. The NAB arrested a member of the housing society Arshad Warraich. He entered into a plea bargain with the NAB and returned Rs5.6 million out of Rs10 million. After the plea bargain, he was released. The Lahore High Court also acquitted him. The NAB filed an appeal against the LHC verdict in the Supreme Court.

Special Prosecutor NAB Ali Imran told the court that facts of the case were not presented correctly before the LHC, therefore, the accused was acquitted.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa asked him to show the application of the plea bargain and point out from the record which facts were incorrect. “Where it is written that the accused had not paid money to NAB,” the judge asked.

The special prosecutor, who was not prepared, started turning pages from his file. It annoyed Justice Qazi who said that it was a matter of concern the way the NAB was being run. He said judges and the lawyers both have the responsibility to conduct the hearing so that cases could be decided. However, now the judges have to do the job of lawyers of government departments, adding why should they work for the lawyers?

Justice Qazi said that how far the courts would do the job of government and the NAB. “It is the fault of judges that they are lenient to the government lawyers. It is their fault that they excused them when they don’t come well prepared.”

He said that the government lawyers’ salaries come from taxpayers money. The lawyers don’t prepare cases and seek adjournments and the judges accept their adjournment applications and this way cases prolong and this was the reason thousands of cases were pending in the Supreme Court.

Justice Dost remarked that the counsel of a private litigant is answerable to a person or a company, but the lawyers of the government departments are answerable to 200 million people. He asked the NAB prosecutor that he had not appended the relevant documents with the appeal. The judge said the prosecutor should have consulted other lawyers in his department before appearing in the court.

The case is adjourned sine die.