Justice at people’s doorsteps is NAB’s new approach, says DG

Dawn

HYDERABAD: National Acco¬un¬ta¬bility Bureau (NAB) Karachi Director General Mohammad Altaf Bawany on Friday dispelled the impression created by the media that the institution’s Sindh chapter was lying dormant. He shared facts and figures with media personnel and other people who attended the second public hearing organised at the Hyderabad Circuit House under the directives of the NAB chairman. Mr Bawany said that the Karachi NAB was currently handling the highest number of cases in the cou¬n¬try. It was holding 160 inquires, 123 investigations were under process and 270 references were being tried in courts. The Sukkur NAB, he added, was currently holding 96 inquiries, 18 investigations were under process and 46 references were being tried in court. “Due to people’s [greater] attention on the cases being handled by the Rawalpindi NAB, such an impression was created that NAB had stopped its activities in Sindh,” he said. Welcoming members of the general public to the second public hearing in Hyderabad after the one held on April 20, Mr Bawany said: “It is NAB’s new approach to meet people, hear their issues regarding corruption and ensure provision of justice to them at their doorsteps.” ADVERTISEMENT “NAB is a professional agency which works under the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999. It’s a resource-constrained institution. Karachi NAB is overloaded with work as there is rampant corruption in departments,” he said. ‘Karachi NAB is handling highest number of cases in the country’ The senior NAB official also clarified that the institution was not indulging in damaging any person’s reputation. “It has been given a task and we are doing our best to fulfil our responsibilities,” he said, indicating that cases and references, which were public documents, were being submitted in courts openly for free trials. He said NAB had received public complaints against the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC) and it was doing its job of investigating such complaints. He said white-collar crime was not ordinary crime. “It is responsibility of a [NAB] investigator to look into the allegations, collect facts and come out with well-prepared cases to submit them in courts of law. The process takes time, so it doesn’t mean the institution is dormant,” he argued. He said NAB would move into action immediately upon detecting a corruption case involving over Rs100 million and if the amount is fewer than Rs100m, it would ask the department concerned to tackle it at its own level by itself. However, in the case of an individual, NAB would move against him/her if there was a complaint about his/her assets valued beyond his/her known sources of income. In reply to a question about an inquiry into illegal appointments in the Sindh Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Stevta), Mr Bawany said that the Sindh chief minister was asked to record his statement in this respect. He said he would be visiting various districts to collect complaints of major corruption after Ramazan. A large number of people attended the public hearing and lodged their complainants with the NAB director general under the tent pitched on the premises of the Circuit House. According to NAB press release, around 70 complainants from Hyderabad, Jamshoro and adjoining districts lodged their complaints of corruption in various departments or on the part of government functionaries, contractors etc.

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