Functioning of TAC questioned
Wednesday, 06 August 2008

The newly formed Truth and Accountability Commission(TAC) on its operation issued a public notification asking people concerned to voluntarily admit corruption, deposit their ill-gotten wealth and assets to the state exchequer and be forgiven in return. Launched for a five-month term the much talked about TAC, will allow corrupt suspects to seek mercy by voluntarily confessing to their graft, and by depositing their ill-gotten wealth. In order to take advantage of pardon of the Voluntary Disclosure Ordinance, the corruption suspects are required to file a formal appeal to the commission to make voluntary disclosure by filling in a form before September 1, according to the notification. The commission on receipt of such an appeal will dispose of it in accordance with the Voluntary Disclosure Ordinance 2008, promulgated on June 5.  The commission may grant mercy to corruption suspects if they make voluntary disclosure of their ill-gotten money or property. The persons willing to disclose their illegal wealth will be exempted from prosecution and imprisonment if they surrender such property or deposit an amount of money commensurate with the property to the state exchequer. The commission will also have the power to deal with the cases referred to it by the National Coordination Committee on Prevention of grievous Crimes and Corruption and the Anti-Corruption Commission.  According to official views, the functioning of the TAC is likely to relieve to some extent the state and the judiciary of the overwhelming burden of adjudicating a large number of graft cases, and to let economic and industrial development continue unhindered. The commission also aims at cutting short the time for dealing with graft cases. But the TAC appears to be an organization based on discrimination as many people charged with corruption and already convicted are being deprived of the advantage provided by it. Moreover, it is alleged that the TAC has been put into operation during the last months of the Emergency Government with a view to allowing some corrupt suspects go unpunished while some other persons, both convicted and under trial, have been detained for months.  This appears to many as inconsistent with the natural rule of justice, as two kinds of law should not be enforced for different groups of people charged with or suspected of similar offences in the same country.

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