KPEC abolition: Those facing corruption charges left high & dry

The News

PESHAWAR: The abolition of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission (KPEC) has frustrated those facing corruption charges as they have been suffering for three years without any trial.
Majority of them pointed out that the provincial government was indecisive about future trial of the people facing corruption charges.
Insiders in the commission wanted the government to carry out accountability of all employees of the anti-graft body besides probing their assets through an independent and powerful organisation such as National Accountability Bureau (NAB) or the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
The previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had established the KPEC to curb corruption. It was said to be the brainchild of Prime Minster Imran Khan but it became paralyzed due to a host of reasons.
The first allegation was about political interference while appointments were made without following merit. Insiders admitted that KPEC was made dysfunctional due to mismanagement, incompetent and political appointees. It has been under criticism for its inability to take measures to check corruption.
Since its establishment in 2014 under an act of the provincial assembly as an independent and autonomous body, the commission has filed 30 corruption references in which seven were rejected by the court of law for lack of evidence. About 22 references are pending.
Most of the victims whose references are pending are government officials or politicians. According to sources, the KPEC received hundreds of applications from people against others. The majority of the applications didn’t have any tangible proof.
However, insiders alleged that some people known to everybody in the KPEC used to call them for investigation and strike a bargain in their private capacity. “There were a few characters in the commission widely known for their political influence and corrupt practices. It was because of these individuals that the anti-graft body lost its credibility and reputation,” an official said on condition of anonymity.
He said certain complaints were converted into inquiries and investigations, wasting resources and inconveniencing the people. However, now when the KPEC has been abolished, those facing corruption charges are running from pillar to post.
Some of the accused told this correspondent that they would readily accept the verdict if convicted by the court of law. One of the victims, who happened to be a police officer, told The News that someone had submitted an application to his department, alleging that he was taking side of his rival in their dispute over the ownership a shop in Peshawar.
“My department under the then police head Nasir Durrani conducted an inquiry and declared me innocent. However, they sent the same application to the KPEC. The commission called me and did not ask me about the complaint lodged against me, rather asked me to provide details of my assets,” he recalled.
He said he had already submitted his assets details to his department. “I was not produced before any senior officer or court to explain my position. The properties we had sold in the village in 2008-10 on stamp papers were not acceptable to them. The amount our joint family had generated from selling a property in the village and purchasing another piece of land was known to everybody in the village,” he said.
He said the commission did not find any irregularity in the assets details that he had presented three years ago. “Since it was a preplanned conspiracy against me, some people in the commission approached my department and suspended me so I cannot influence the inquiry,” he recalled.
He said the department forgot his outstanding career and sacrifices for the force and he was compulsorily retired from service. He said many other accused got frustrated as their repeated appeals to the KPEC during these three years fell on deaf ears as neither references against them were sent to the court nor were they given clearance letter so they could rejoin their departments.
He argued that since most positions of senior cadre had been lying vacant in KPEC, it empowered some juniors to play with life of the people in the name of corruption. He said their hands were tied and couldn’t file a writ petition as their inquiries were still pending in the commission.
Senior prosecutor Lajbar Khan recently claimed that the KPEC saved about Rs5.4 billion for theprovincial government. He claimed that 30 references related to corruption and corrupt practices of about Rs3 billion were under trial in the Ehtesab courts.
He said the commission had until now filed 30 references in the Ehtesab courts regarding corruption and corrupt practices. Only three cases were decided in the last four years. Presently, 51 cases are under inquiry and 26 are being investigated by the commission

Comments are closed.