Chiniot mines reference returned to NAB

The Chiniot mines and minerals reference has been returned to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as an accountability court cited the lack of jurisdiction over the matter as per the amended National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) and directed the bureau to take up the matter to the relevant forum for further action.

Accountability Court Judge Zubair Shahzad Kiyani passed the orders while deciding applications filed by the accused, including Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan, for acquittal under the amendments to the NAO.

The accused, through their applications, had submitted that the matter did not fall under the jurisdiction of the accountability court as per the amended ordinance. They submitted that the bureau had accused them of misuse of powers, and not corruption.

Besides Sibtain Khan, Salman Ghani, Muhammad Aslam, Abdul Sattar Mian and Imtiaz Ahmad Cheema had been named as the accused in the reference filed by the bureau.

The bureau had alleged that Sibtain Khan exceeded his powers and awarded a multi-billion contract to a firm of his choice in 2007 when he was minister for mines and minerals in the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) government.

The bureau stated that the company, which was given the contract, had a paid-up capital of Rs2.5 million only and also lacked the experience required for the project.

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