A former auditor general of Pakistan was sentenced to one year in prison by a court on Monday for concealing his dual nationality.
The prosecution presented evidence confirming that Muhammad Akhtar Buland Rana was also a Canadian national. Senior civil Judge Mohammad Shabbir handed down a punishment of one year in jail to Rana. The former auditor general was taken into custody and shifted to Adiala Jail.
The federal government had sacked Rana in 2015 after the Supreme Judicial Council found him guilty of misconduct.
This was the first time in Pakistan’s history that a complaint filed in the SJC sought the disqualification of an AGP. It was also just the second time the council gave its opinion to the president on any reference, filed under Article 209 of the Constitution. The council had earlier decided one reference, citing the ouster of a judge, in 1971.
In 2014, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report had revealed Rana withdrew Rs4.62 million from the national exchequer in excess of his salary and privileges in violation of rules and regulations.
There were also complaints against his unsanctioned foreign visits, his four different passports (three Pakistani and one Canadian) and for him availing long leaves to complete residence requirements in Canada for immigration purposes, along with allegations of abuse of power.
After the initiation of the inquiry however, Rana had challenged the authority of parliament and refused to attend PAC meetings.
The FIA filed a case against Rana for obtaining five Pakistani passports while still holding a Canadian passport.
The immigration and passport’s deputy director (policy) confirmed that Rana had “never declared his other nationality”.
Rana obtained the first passport from the regional office in Islamabad in 1998. The second passport was issued from Toronto, Canada, in 2002. Two more official machine-readable passports were issued in 2005 and 2011, respectively. Then in 2012 he was issued a diplomatic passport. Apart from these passports, Rana was also holding a Canadian passport, which constitutes an offence under Section 6 of the Passport Act of 1974.
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