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KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered the provincial government to remove all officials facing corruption and criminal cases from their posts and return their ill-gotten wealth.
The SHC’s division bench, headed by Justice Nadeem Akhtar, heard the plea filed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P) deputy convener Kanwar Naveed Jamil against officials facing criminal or corruption proceedings in various cases.
The court noted that officials accused of corruption and facing NAB cases are still operating and remarked that they do not deserve to hold their posts until exonerated of their charges.
The court directed the chief secretary to ensure that all such government officials who filed for plea bargain with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) but continue to work on their positions, are suspended with immediate effect and disciplinary proceedings be initiated against them.
The court ordered the government to suspend all such officials under Rule 5 of Sindh Civil Servants Rules 1973 It directed the chief secretary to remove those officials and submit a report on it to the court.
It must be noted that at least 500 officials in Sindh are included in the petition in the court of law who despite entering into plea bargain with NAB or through voluntarily return of ill-gotten money were allowed to work in government departments.
The petitioner’s counsel Salman Mujahid submitted that the Sindh government has allowed promotions and postings of over 500 such government servants. He submitted that the provincial government and departments are indulging in gross violation of law by allowing the corrupt officials to enjoy the postings despite being convicted.
He said that the voluntary return of the money and assets acquired through corrupt practices by a public servant or civil servant makes them liable to departmental proceedings. He submitted that after admission of the guilt, the accused cannot assume public office in any state-owned organization.
The Sindh chief secretary filed a partial compliance report of details of officers who entered into the voluntary return (VR) and plea bargain. The court observed all the government servants are still serving in the government of Sindh.
The court directed the chief secretary to ensure that all such civil and government servants are placed under suspension with immediate effect and disciplinary proceedings should be initiated against them
The court observed that the Sindh government should impose penalties or punishments on such officers and employees commensurate to the charges against them instead of imposing a minor penalty.
The court was informed by the petitioner’s counsel that the Sindh government has suppressed the names of several hundred government servants who entered into a plea bargain.
The court also issued notices to chairman NAB and special prosecutor NAB to submit a complete list of such government/civil servants of the Sindh government. The hearing has been adjourned to January 14.