SUNDAY TIMES ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Law has prepared a draft of the amendments in the existing National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law, according to sources.

The amended law suggests restrictions on the blanket powers of the Chairman NAB, sources said.

The new text of the law also proposes withdrawal of the plea bargain powers from the NAB and it will be deemed in future as part of the acceptance of offence, sources said.

The new accountability law also curtails existing 90 days’ period of NAB remand to 14 days.

Recently, the Supreme Court in a hearing had set the date for the amendment in the ‘plea bargain’ clause of the accountability law.

In a suo motu hearing Justice Azmat Saeed had said that the “plea bargain law of NAB” should be amended till February 2019 otherwise the court will set aside the law.

The apex court asked the parliament to amend the accountability law allowing voluntary return of plundered money, by February next year else the court would pass an appropriate order on the matter.

The bench observed that it was tantamount to confession of offence if an accused person voluntary returns part of ill-gotten money and that it could not undo the crime.

Farooq H. Naek, an amicus curie in the case, informed the court that a parliamentary committee was working to overhaul the National Accountability Ordinance and suggested that instead of the court, parliament might be allowed to make an amendment to the law.

Justice Saeed said that the court could strike down the voluntary return law since it was an admission of committing of an offence, adding that there was no room in the law to waive criminal liability through an executive order.

The bench said that in case there was no amendment to repeal the voluntary return by the first week of February 2019, the court might pass an order.

It is pertinent to mention here that the voluntary return is an option in the accountability law under which an accused returns plundered money during investigation before the filing of a corruption reference in an accountability court.