A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has turned down the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) appeal against a single bench’s decision to allow the Ramzan Sugar Mills to register the upgraded charges of the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
The intra-court appeal, filed by NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, requested the court to set aside the LHC single bench’s order that was unveiled on June 3.
It said the LHC bench allowed the mills to register the upgraded charges of the SECP despite the fact that the mills shareholders – the family of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif – are facing NAB references.
However, the division bench, headed by Justice Masud Abid Naqvi, on Friday declared the appeal non maintainable. It issued its written order on Saturday
It said: “The order impugned in the writ petition had been passed by the [SECP] additional joint registrar of the companies, under the Companies Act, 2017, which was an appealable order in view of the Section 480 of the Act.”
The bench noted that NAB had already filed an objection petition under Section 13 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, in an accountability court and the petition is still pending.
It said it is crystal clear that against the order of the additional joint registrar an alternative remedy of appeal had been provided and NAB had duly challenged the same by filing an objection petition under Section 480 of the Act.
“The ICA had been filed under Section 3 of the Law Reforms Ordinance, 1972, whereas its subsection (2) barred the remedy of the ICA in those cases in which the relevant law provided remedy of appeal, revision or review. So the appeal of NAB was dismissed owing to being non maintainable,” it noted.
A single-bench led by Justice Ayesha A Malik on June 3 allowed a petition filed by Ramzan Sugar Mills against non-registration of its upgraded charges by the SECP.
Earlier, the mills’ counsel had told the court that all of its assets had been frozen after the top anti-corruption watchdog filed references against the business enterprise.
He said the mills had requested the SECP to register its upgraded charge on its assets to the extent of Rs4.4billion in favour of three banks as required under the Companies Act 2013. However, the commission had refused to register the shares owing to the NAB references
According to him, the SECP had asked the mills to furnish NAB’s no-objection certificate (NOC). The counsel had argued that the NAB had previously sent a letter to the SECP about a “caution mark” on sale and purchase of the mills’ shares only.
“No NOC from NAB is required for the purpose as the matter does not pertain to sale/purchase of shares,” he had argued. He had asked the court to order the SECP to register the charges of the mills so it could get its assets mortgaged for a bank loan.
The NAB prosecutor had said the pending investigation was not related to the company but its shareholders. He had opposed the petition, saying the sugar mills could not avail the facility while y courts are hearing the references. The single-bench had, however, allowed the mills petition.
The SECP is the financial regulatory agency in Pakistan whose objective is to develop a modern and efficient corporate sector and a capital market based on sound authority principles, “in order to encourage investment and foster economic growth and prosperity in Pakistan”.