ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa declared on Tuesday that any person who has been convicted for corruption will have to pay their fine “even if they are dead”.
Justice Khosa made these remarks during the hearing of a case pertaining to a sentence awarded to a former government employee who had been found guilty of owning assets beyond known means. He said that an earlier Supreme Court verdict states that anyone guilty of corruption will have to pay the fine, even if they serve additional time in prison.
“The extra time served in prison is punishment for not paying the fine. The money [looted through corruption] must be returned even if the person [who is guilty of corruption] is dead,” the chief justice said.
Mohammad Kaleem Bhatti, a cashier in Quetta district commissioner’s office, had properties worth more than Rs1.9 million beyond his known means of income. He was sentenced to five years in prison and slapped with a fine of Rs15m by a trial court and the verdict was upheld by the Balochistan High Court (BHC).
Bhatti chose to serve two years in prison instead of paying the fine. The high court, in a later verdict, stated that since he had served additional time in prison, he did not have to pay the fine and returned his properties that were earlier confiscated.
The National Accountability Bureau had challenged the verdict in the top court. During today’s hearing, the chief justice said that the BHC had misunderstood the judgement by the SC.
Bhatti argued that he had already served seven years in prison. “After serving seven years in jail, have your properties [bought by money earned through corruption] become legal?” Justice Khosa asked. “Fine will have to be paid even if the prison sentence has been served,” the chief justice concluded.