Updated: Thursday January 09, 2014/AlKhamis Rabi’ Awwal 08, 1435/Bruhaspathivara Pausa 19, 1935, at 08:06:20 PM

The Ehtesab Ordinance, 1996

ORDINANCE CXI OF 1996

An Ordinance to eradicate corruption and corrupt practices from public offices

[Gazette of Pakistan, Extraordinary, 18th November, 1996].

F.No.2(I)/96‑Pub., dated 18‑11‑1996.‑‑The following Ordinance made by the President is hereby published for general information:‑‑-

Whereas it is expedient to provide for eradication of corruption and corrupt practices from the public offices and to provide for effective measures for prosecution and speedy disposal of cases involving corruption and corrupt practices and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto;

And whereas the National Assembly is not in session and the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action;

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 89 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the President is pleased to make and promulgate the following Ordinance:‑‑-

1. Short title, application and commencement.‑‑‑(1) This Ordinance may be called the Ehtesab Ordinance, 1996.

(2) It shall apply to the holders of public offices since the 31st day of December, 1985.

(3) It shall come into force at once.

2. Definitions. In this Ordinance, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,‑‑-

(a) “appropriate Government” means the Federal Government in relation to a person serving in connection with the affairs of the Federation and any other person employed by the Federal Government or by a corporation, body, bank, financial institution, undertaking or other organization set up, controlled or administered by, or under the authority of the Federal Government and in other cases the Provincial Government concerned;

(b) “Chief Ehtesab Commissioner” means the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner appointed under section 13;

(c) “Code” means the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898);

(d) “Court” means a Bench of three Judges of the High Court;

(e) “freezing” includes attachment, sealing, prohibition, transfer, conversion, disposal, holding, controlling or managing any property either through a receiver or otherwise, and in the case of property being livestock. or perishable goods, disposal thereof;

(f) “holder of public office” means a person who,---

(i) has been the President or the Governor of a Province;

(ii) is, or has been, the Prime Minister, Chairman Senate, Speaker National Assembly, Deputy Chairman Senate, Deputy Speaker National Assembly, Federal Minister, Minister of State, Attorney‑General and other Law Officers appointed under the Central Law Officers Ordinance, 1970 (VII of 1970), Advisor to the Prime Minister, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Federal Parliamentary Secretary, Member of the Parliament, Auditor‑General, Political Secretary, Advisor or Consultant to the Prime Minister, Federal Minister, Minister of State or attached with any Ministry or Division, holder of a post or office with the rank or status of a Federal Minister or Minister of State;

(iii) is, or has been, the Chief Minister, Provincial Minister, Advisor to the Chief Minister, Special Assistant to Chief Minister, Provincial Parliamentary Secretary, Member of the Provincial Assembly, Advocate‑General, including Additional Advocates‑General and Assistant Advocates‑General, Political Secretary, Advisor or Consultant to the Chief Minister, Provincial Minister or attached to any department of the Province, holder of a post or office with rank or status of a Provincial Minister;

(iv) is, or has held an office or post in Basic Pay Scale 20 or above in the service of Pakistan or any service in connection with the affairs of the Federation or of a Province or in equivalent pay scale of management in corporation, banks, financial institutions, firms, concerns, undertakings or any other institutions, or organization established, controlled or administered by or under the Federal Government or a Provincial Government, other than an officer who is a member of the armed forces, or for the time being is subject to any law relating to any of those forces except an officer of armed forces who is holding or has held an equivalent post or office in any public corporation, bank, financial institution, undertaking or other organization established, controlled or administered by or under the Federal Government or a Provincial Government;

(g) “offence” means the offence of corruption and corrupt practices; and

(h) “property” includes any or all movable and immovable properties, situated within or outside Pakistan.

3. Corruption and corrupt practices.‑‑‑(1) A holder of public office or any other person is said to commit the offence of corruption and corrupt practices,---

(a) if he accepts. or obtains from any person any gratification other than legal remuneration, as a motive or reward such as is specified in section 161 of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860), or for doing or forbearing to do any official act or for showing or forbearing to show, in the exercise of his official functions, favour or disfavour to any person, or for rendering or attempting to render any service or disservice to any person;

(b) if he accepts or obtains any valuable thing without consideration or for a consideration which he knows to be inadequate from any person whom he knows to have been, or to be likely to be, concerned in any proceeding or business transacted or about to be transacted by him, or having any connection with his official functions, or from any person whom he knows to be interested in or related to the person so concerned; or

(c) if he dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriates or otherwise converts for his own use or for the use of any other person any property entrusted to him or under his control as a holder of public office or wilfully allows any other person so to do; or

(d) if he, by corrupt, dishonest, improper or illegal means obtains or seeks for himself or for any other person any property, valuable thing, pecuniary advantage or undue favour; or

(e) if he or any of his dependents or benarmidars are in possession of any movable or immovable property or pecuniary resources, disproportinate to his known sources of income which he cannot reasonably account for; or

(f) if he commits or causes rigging of election.

Explanation. ‑‑‑For the purposes of this accountability of property by improper means shall be construed as a reference to property acquired by means which are contrary to law rule, usage or instruction having the force of law or by abuse of official position or by coercion, undue influence, fraud or misrepresentation within the manning of the Contract Act, 1872 (IX of 1872).

(2) Where within ten days from the commencement of this Ordinance, a holder of public office or a person specified in sub‑clause (iv) of clause (t) of section 2, makes a full and complete declaration, in writing, to the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner or any officer or authority authorized by him, of any property, assets, benefits or gains acquired by him through corruption and corrupt practices and voluntarily returns such property, assets, benefits or gains to the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner within one month from such declaration, no penal action under this Ordinance or any other law for the time being in force shall be taken against him:---

Provided that he shall be disqualified to hold any representative office for a period of five years and where he is a person specified in clause (iv) of subsection (1) he shall cease to hold his office or post, as the case may be.

(3) All offences under this Ordinance shall be non‑bailable.

4. Punishment for corruption and corrupt practices. ‑‑‑(I) A person who commits the offence of corruption and corrupt practices shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both, and such of the movable or immovable property of such person, whether in his name or in the name of his dependent or benamidar obtained through such offence during the tenure of his office, shall be liable to be forfeited to‑the appropriate Government:---


Provided that, where any person is convicted for an offence under clause (e) of section 3, the property, including bank deposits, found to be disproportionate to the known sources of his income shall be forfeited to the appropriate Government.

(2) A person giving illegal gratification, or abetting, assisting or aiding a holder of public office or a beneficiary of any asset, property or gain through corruption or corrupt practices shall be within the meaning of this section and shall be liable to same punishment as is awarded to a holder of public office.

5. Imposition of fine.‑‑‑Where a person found guilty of an offence is sentenced to fine, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law and irrespective of whether or not a sentence of imprisonment is imposed, the amount of fine shall in no case be less than the gains derived by the accused.

6. Power of the Court to freeze property.‑‑‑(1) The Court trying a holder of public office for an offence under this Ordinance may, at any time, if there appear reasonable grounds for believing that the accused has committed such offence, order the freezing of his property, movable or immovable, or both, whether in his possession or in the possession of any person on his behalf.

(2) If the property ordered to be frozen under subsection (1) is a debt or other movable property, the freezing may be made,---

(a) by seizure; or

(b) by appointment of a receiver; or

(c) by prohibiting the delivery of such property to the accused or to anyone on his behalf; or

(d) by all or any of such methods as the Court may think fit.

(3) If the property ordered to be frozen is immovable, the freezing shall in the case of land paying revenue, be made through the Collector of the district in which the land is situated, and in all other cases,---

(a) by taking possession; or

(b) by appointment of a receiver; or

(c) by prohibiting the payment of rent or delivery of property to the accused or to anyone on his behalf; or

(d) by all or any of such methods as the Court may deem fit.

(4) If the property ordered to be frozen consists of livestock or is of perishable nature, the Court may, if it thinks expedient, order immediate sale thereof and in such case the proceeds of the sale may be invested in such Government securities or Government sponsored saving schemes as the Court may direct.

(5) The powers, duties and liabilities of a receiver appointed under this section shall be the same as those of a receiver appointed under Order XL of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908).

7. Claim or objection against freezing.‑‑‑(1) All claims or objections against the freezing of any property under section 6 shall be made within thirty days from the date of the order freezing such property:---

Provided that, where a person satisfies the Court that he had sufficient cause for not making the claim or objection within such period, the Court may admit such claim or objection, as the case may be; after that period:---

Provided further that any claim or objection made within the period allowed under this subsection may, in the event of the death of a claimant or objector, be continued by his legal representatives.

(2) The Court may, after such enquiry as it may deem fit, allow or disallow any claim or objection in whole or in part.

(3) Where the Court allows any claim or objection in whole or in part, it shall make an order releasing the property or any part thereof, as the case may be, from freezing.

8. Presumption against holder of public office accepting illegal gratification. ‑‑‑(I) Where in any trial of an offence punishable under sections 161 to 165 of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860), it is proved that an accused person has accepted or obtained, or has agreed to accept or attempted to obtain, for himself or for any other person any gratification, other liar legal remuneration, or any valuable thing, or any pecuniary advantage from a person or any agent of a person, for any favour shown or promised to be shown by the accused, it shat! be presumed, unless the contrary is proved that he accepted or obtained, or agreed to accept or attempted to obtain, that gratification or that valuable thing or pecuniary advantage for himself or some other person, as the case may be, as a motive or reward such as is specified in sections 161 to 163 of the said Code, or, as the case may be, without consideration or for a consideration which he believed to be inadequate.

(2) Where in any trial of offence punishable under section 165‑A of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860), it is proved that any gratification other than legal remuneration or any valuable thing has been given or offered to be raven or attempted to be given, by any accused person, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that he gave or offered to give or attempted to give that gratification or that valuable thing, as the case may be, as motive or reward such as is specified in sections 161 to 163 of the said Code, or as the case may be without consideration or for consideration which be believed to be inadequate.

(3) In any trial of an offence punishable under this Ordinance, the fact that the accused person or any other person on his behalf is in possession, for which the accused person cannot satisfactorily account, of property or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources or income, or that such person has, on or about the time of the commission of the offence with which he is charged, obtained an accretion to his pecuniary resources or property for which he cannot satisfactorily account, the Court shall presume, unless the contrary is proved, that the accused person is guilty of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices and his .conviction therefor shall not be invalid by reason only that it is based solely on such presumption.

9. Disqualification to contest election. ‑‑‑Where a person is convicted for an offence of corruption and corrupt practices the Court may, keeping in view the nature and gravity of the offence, direct that the holder of public office shall stand disqualified. for the period specified in sub‑clause (h) of clause (1) of Article 63 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan from being elected or chosen as a member of Parliament or a Provincial Assembly:---

Provided that where the convicted person is a member of Parliament or Provincial Assembly, the Court stay direct that such person shall cease to be such member on his conviction under this Ordinance.

10. Offence to be exclusively triable by the Court. ‑‑‑Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code, or in any other law for the time being in force, an offence punishable under this Ordinance shall exclusively be triable by a Bench of three Judges of the high Court and the case shall be heard day to day and disposed of within sixty days:---

Provided that where the delay in the trial is occasioned by any act or permission of the accused or any other person acting on his behalf, the Court may direct that the accused shall cease to perform the functions of his office either till the conclusion of the trial or for such period as the Court may direct.

Explanation. ‑‑‑In this section, “High Court” means the High Court within the jurisdiction of which the holder of public office is being proceeded against,---

(i) was elected as a member of Parliament or a Provincial Assembly; or

(ii) resides, if such holder of public office is a person specified in sub*clause (i) or sub‑clause (iv) of clause (t) of section 2.

11. Disciplinary action may continue. ‑‑‑Where the holder of public office is a person specified in sub‑clause (iv) of clause (t) of section 2, nothing shall be deemed to prevent the appropriate Government for taking disciplinary action against such holder of public office.

12. Provisions of the Code to apply, etc.‑‑‑(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, unless there is anything inconsistent with the provisions of this Ordinance, the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898), shall mutatis mutandis, apply to the „proceeding under this Ordinance.

(2) The previous statements of the witnesses to be examined for the prosecution at the trial shall be supplied to the accused at least one week before the commencement of the trial.

13. Chief Ehtesab Commissioner: ‑‑(1) There shall be a Chief Ehtesab Commissioner to be appointed for a term of four years by the President after consultation with the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, and the Chief Justice of Pakistan for the purposes of inquiries, investigation and prosecution into allegations of corruption and corrupt practices under this Ordinance:---

Provided that where such appointment is to be made when the National Assembly stands dissolved, the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner may be appointed after consultation with Caretaker Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

(2) The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner shall be a person who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and shall not be eligible for any extension of tenure or for re‑appointment.

(3) The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner shall not hold any office of profit in the service of Pakistan before the expiration of two years after he has ceased to hold that office; nor he shall be eligible during the tenure of office for a period of two years thereafter for election as a member of Parliament or a Provincial Assembly or any local body or take part in any political activity.

(4) The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner may resign from his office by writing under his hand addressed to the President.

(5) The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner shall be entitled to the same salary and privileges as of a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

(6) The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner may be removed from his office on the ground of misconduct or being incapable of performing the duties of his office in the manner specified under Article 209 of the Constitution.

(7) Where the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner is appointed from amongst the sitting Judges of the Supreme Court, on his resignation from office or on relinquishment of his office for any other reason, other than his removal, under subsection (6), Chief Ehtesab Commissioner shall assume the office of such Judge, if in the meantime he has not attained the age of sixty‑five years.

14. Congnizance of offences, etc.‑‑‑(1) The Court shall not take cognizance of an offence under this Ordinance except on a reference by the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner.

(2) A ‘reference under this Ordinance shall be initiated by the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner on,---

(i) a reference received from the appropriate Government; or

(ii) receipt of a complaint; or

(iii) his own accord.

(3) Where the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner initiates proceedings under this Ordinance against the holder of a public office, he shall require the appropriate Government or the complainant for proof and evidence in support of allegations against the holder of public office and for the purpose cause attendance of any person or authority.

(4) Upon receipt of a reference or a complaint or where the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner initiates action on his own accord, he may institute such inquiry and investigation through any person or authority as he may deem fit:---

Provided that no officer below the rank of Inspector of Police shall investigate any offence under this Ordinance:---

Provided further that where an inquiry or investigation is made‑ by a person other than a police officer, such person shall exercise all powers conferred under the Code on an officer‑incharge of a police station.

(5) The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner shall complete the inquiry and investigation under this section within one month.

(6) Where the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner is of the opinion that a prima facie case is made out against the holder of public office he shall refer such case to the Court for trial and for that purpose appoint Special Prosecutor for conducting the trial.

(7) Where the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner is of the opinion that prima facie case is not made out against the holder of public office, he shall reject the reference or, as the case may be, the complaint and record his reasons for such rejection.

15. Voluntary return, etc.‑‑‑Where before the commencement of trial or at any time, with the leave of the Court; the holder of public office or any other person specified in subsection (2) of section 4 voluntarily returns to the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner, property, asset, gain acquired through corruption or corrupt practices, the Court may not proceed with the trial subject to such conditions as to fine or penalty as may be imposed .by the Court and he resigns from the representative office or, if he is a person specified in sub‑clause (iv) of clause (f) of section 2, he accepts termination from his service.

16. Accused may be arrested in certain cases, etc.‑‑‑(1) Where a reference is made to the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner under clause (i) of subsection (2) of section 14, such reference shall be deemed to be an information recorded under section 154 of the Code:
Provided that no arrest of a holder of public office accused of an offence order this Ordinance shall be made without the prior written approval of the Chief
Ehtesab Commissioner:---

Provided further that a holder of a public office who is proceeded against in consequence of a complaint made under clause (ii) or by the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner under clause (iii) of subsection (2) of section 14, no order for arrest of such person shall be made unless a reference is made to the Court under subsection (4) of section 14.

(2) Where a holder of public office accused of any offence under this Ordinance is produced before a Judicial Magistrate for police custody under section 167 of the Code, such Magistrate, notwithstanding the provisions of section 167 of the Code, shall not authorise the detention of such holder of public office in such custody for term exceeding fourteen days in the whole.

17. Special Prosecutor. ‑‑‑The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner may, in consultation with the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of Pakistan appoint Special Prosecutors for conducting prosecution of cases under this Ordinance and determine the terms and conditions.

18. Powers of the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner to seek assistance. ‑‑‑(l) The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner shall have the power to seek assistance and call for documents and information relevant to any proceedings pending before it under this Ordinance, from any department of the Federal Government or a Provincial Government, local authority, bank or any other person or authority and it shall be the duty of such department, local authority, bank, person or authority to render such assistance or furnish such document or formation as he may require.

(2) Any document or information called for under subsection (1) shall only be used for the proposes of this Ordinance and shall not be made available to any other person.

19. Appointment of members of staff and officers for the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner. ‑‑‑(l) The members of the staff and officers of the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner shall be appointed by the Federal Government in concurrence with the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner.

(2) The members of the staff and officers of Chief Ehtesab Commissioner shall be entitled to such salary, allowances and other terms and conditions of service as may be determined by the Federal Government having regard to the salary, allowances and other terms and conditions of service that may, for the time being admissible to other employees of the Federal Government in the corresponding pay scales.

20. Power to punish for contempt,---(1) The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner shall have the same powers, mutatis mutandis, as the Supreme Court has to punish any person for its contempt who,---

(a) abuses, interferes with, impedes, imperils, or obstructs the process of the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner in any way or disobeys any order of the Chief Ethesab Commissioner;

(b) scandalizes the ,Chief Ehtesab Commissioner or otherwise does anything which tends to bring the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner, his staff or nominees or any person authorised by the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner in relation to his office, into hatred, ridicule or contempt;

(c) does anything which tends to prejudice the determination of a matter pending before the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner;

(d) does any other thing which, by any other law, constitutes contempt of Court:---

Provided that fair comments made in good faith in public interest on the working of the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner or any of his staff, or on the report of the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner after the completion of the investigation shall not constitute contempt of the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner or his office.

(2) Any person sentenced under subsection (1) may, within thirty days of the passing of the order, appeal to Supreme Court.

21. Accused to be a competent witness.‑‑Any person charged with an offence punishable under this Ordinance shall be a competent witness for the defence and may give evidence on oath in disproof of the charges made against him or any person charged together with him at the same trial:---

Provided that the accused shall not be compelled to be a witness against himself:---

Provided further that where an accused appears as a witness, on his own choice and refuses to answer any question, the Court may draw such adverse inference from such refusal as it may think fit.

22. Complainant to be rewarded etc.‑‑‑Where as a result of a complaint made by a private individual against holder of public office under clause (ii) of sub‑section (2) of section 14 such holder of public office is convicted by the Court and his conviction is maintained in appeal, the complainant may be entitled to such reward as may be determined by the Court, or as the case may be, the Supreme Court:---

Provided that where such complaint proves to be false, mala fide, or is made for any ulterior motive or to provide financial or any other benefit to another person, the complainant shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine, or with both.

23. Cognizance of false evidence etc.‑‑‑(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the preceding provisions or any other law already in force, on pronouncement of the judgment, the Court shall have jurisdiction and power to take congnizance of an offence committed in the course of the investigation or trial of a case tried under this Ordinance, by a police officer, a witness, including an expert, who has tendered false opinion in a case relating to matter covered by his specialty, whether he deposed in Court or not, or any other person, under sections 176 to 182 of Chapter X, or sections 191 to 204, or 211 to 223, or 225‑A of Chapter X1, of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860), or under any other law relating to false evidence and offences against public justice, and to summarily try him and award punishment provided for the offence under the law.

(2) For the purpose of trial under subsection (1), the Court may, as nearly as may be, follow the procedure specified in Chapter XXII of the Code.

(3) The proceedings under subsection (1) may be initiated by the Court on its own accord after the decision of the appeal, if any, or on an application made by the Special Prosecutor or the person accused of an offence tried by the Court, within thirty days from the order in appeal:---

Provided that the time requisite for obtaining the copy of the order of the appellate Court shall be excluded.

24. Appeal.‑‑‑Any person sentenced by the Court under this Ordinance may, within seven days of the decision or the order prefer an appeal to the Supreme Court:---

Provided that the Court shall supply copies of its final decision to the convict free of costs.

25. Ordinance to override other laws.‑‑‑The provisions of this Ordinance shall have effect notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, for time being in force.

26. Rules.‑‑‑The Federal Government may, on recommendation of the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner, make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Ordinance.

27. Repeal.‑‑‑(1) The Holder of Representative Offices (Punishment for Misconduct) Order, 1977, (P.P.O. 16 of 1977), and the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies (Disqualification for Membership) Order, 1977 (P.P.O. 17 of 1977), are hereby repealed.

(2) Notwithstanding the repeal of the Holders of Representative Offices (Punishment for Misconduct) Order, 1977 (P.P.O. 16 of 1977), and Parliament and Provincial Assemblies (Disqualification for Membership) Order, 1977 (P.P.O. 17 of 1977) under subsection (1) any proceeding pending before the Special Court under the said order or the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, (II of 1947 ), shall continue.

 

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