ISLAMABAD -  A senior official of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has challenged the credibility of a scrutiny committee formed by Supreme Court to probe illegal appointments in the bureau.

On March 31, the Supreme Court constituted a committee headed by Secretary Establishment Division Syed Tahir Shahbaz, and FPSC member Habibullah Khan Khattak and NAB Director General (HRM) Muhammad Shakeel Malik as members to probe the illegal appointments made in the bureau.

After the constitution of the committee, the NAB deputy chairman has issued show cause notices to more than 100 officers, asking them to prove that their appointments in the bureau were legal and made on merit.

Responding to a show cause notice, NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Director Mirza Sultan Ahmed Saleem, a BS-20 officer, has challenged the integrity of Committee Chairman Tahir Shahbaz to investigate his case, raising questions that he (Shahbaz) himself was undergoing an investigation in an alleged corruption case, shows a copy of his (Saleem) reply available with The Nation.

The documents said that orders of the Supreme Court of March 31 contain direction for issuance of notices to officers, regarding  “requisite experience” as enunciated in para-31 of judgement in SMC 13/2016 for hearing before the constituted committee sans explanation before the NAB. “Therefore, issuance of the above show cause notice, instead, is contemptuous and tainted with malicious intent toward removal from service and beyond the scope of intent of the judgment, Saleem said in response to the show cause notice.

He said: “The NAB chairman/the competent authority should issue notices to all these officers to appear before the committee. The committee after affording them the opportunity of hearing shall record its finding within two months and the findings shall be acted upon by the NAB”.

According to the documents, the issuance of the show cause notice (by the deputy chairman NAB) is based on bias of the NAB, having given its mind of termination of service of the “notice issued officers”, as a judgment in advance without hearing and adjudication of facts by the committee and needs to be withdrawn in letter and spirit.  He said in the reply: “For the likely issuance of notice under the spirit of the court order, following record needs to be consulted and copies thereof required to the undersigned for preparing the defence of notice. “These include copies of recommendations of the Department Selection Committee/ Departmental Selection Boards or the minutes/working paper containing quantifies score/ marks, pass/fail, granted by the Boards/Committee to each candidates of BSP-18 and above of all batches-5 to 7 in term of “experience” to enable the undersigned for preparing a reply to the inconsistencies cited in above notice viz-a-viz TCS/MAQ and the “Evaluation of Experience” by the then Departmental Selection Boards”.

The NAB official in his reply further said: “A copy of approval of the authority in NAB who allowed the policy of evaluation of experience of batch-7 of 2015 Deputy Directors (BS-18) candidates at the time of interview as valid evaluation formula, recruited by Shakeel Malik, as a defend in Khawaja Haris Report by HR Director NAB Headquarters.  Copy of approval of NAB authority, who declared the experience of BPS-18 and above officers of all batches now as “inconsistent” long after their appointments prior to 2016 during the hearing of SMC 13/2016 as there had been consistent procedure of evaluation of experience at the time of interviews of all candidates at the time of different Chairman NAB in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013.”

The reply said: “It is only the present management of NAB who is challenging their predecessor’s evaluation of experience and even its own in case of Deputy Directors of batch-7 (2015).  Copies of all notification of current charge granted for DGs and the authority vested in accordance with TCS during the year 2013-2016. Whether any query asking the “Experience Relevance” was raised by NAB and required from any officer earlier to 2011, if so, copies of the same be given.”

The reply said: “Whether Muhammad Shakeel Malik had been processor/authority in recruiting Deputy Directors (BPS-18) and catch-7 (2015) in NAB, which had been questioned by Establishment Division in its report on the issue of experience and the same officer is also member of committee to scrutinise/hear such officers including that of batch-7 recruited by the present management. Whether any inquiry /case undertaken at NAB (Rawalpindi bureau) regarding “Hayat Regency” against the present Chairman of the Committee (Tahir Shahbaz) as chairman CDA, Islamabad, and the case is pending decision before the present management of NAB. If so, copies of the report mentioning its role be provided. And if not so, why it is not being decided.”

“It is, therefore, humbly requested that proper notice as per the spirit of the Supreme Court, may be issued and the above mentioned (points) may be provided to prepare the defence at the time of hearing before the committee. And time for submitting the reply to the notice be reckoned from the provision of above copies/ information/notice,” the NAB official said in his reply.