KARACHI: Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau retired Justice Javed Iqbal said here on Thursday that effective accountability was imperative for economic growth, investment and social order.
He said NAB Karachi had recovered more than Rs702 billion through cancellation of lands in addition to the recovery of Rs3.4bn through plea bargains this year alone and intended to file 100 more references in the province by the end of this year.
This he stated at a ceremony held for the inauguration of ‘Investigation Wing-II’ of NAB located in Balochistan House, Clifton.
‘NAB not pursuing tax evasion cases’
Addressing NAB investigation officers, the NAB chairman said that 2017 was the year of “reinvigoration of NAB” when the anti-graft body moved with fresh zeal.
“The intervention by NAB has acted as a catalyst, as transparency is a prerequisite for promoting investment and economic growth,” he said, adding that fighting corruption was a challenging task.
Earlier, director general NAB Karachi retired Brig Farooq Naseer Awan, highlighting the performance of NAB Karachi, said that this year it had recovered more than Rs3.4bn through plea bargains, duly approved by the accountability court, which was five times higher than the previous year.
He said there was another form of recovery, termed indirect recovery, which included cancellation of fraudulent allotment of state land, returning of plots to the affected after intervention of NAB.
In that regard, NAB Karachi had recovered over Rs702bn, which was “unprecedented” in its history.
Tax evasion, money laundering
Retired Justice Iqbal said that there was a difference between tax evasion and money laundering and NAB had not pursued any case of tax evasion as it referred such cases to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), adds APP.
He said this in his address to members of the business community during a visit to the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) headquarters here, said a statement.
The NAB chairman said that NAB had no plan to pursue the cases of tax evasion and such cases were being referred to the FBR.
He said NAB did not take direct action in bank default cases but State Bank of Pakistan referred cases to NAB.
Justice Iqbal said that NAB always respected the business community as it was the backbone of development and prosperity of the country.
He said NAB had constituted a six-member committee, under Section 33-C of the NAB Ordinance 1999, to address the reservations of the business community. The committee had been tasked to prepare recommendations about the business community’s issues.
The committee’s recommendations would be reviewed by a three-member NAB committee comprising NAB’s deputy chairman, prosecutor general (accountability) and director general for operations.
He said NAB was taking action against those who were allegedly corrupt and were untouchable in the past but were now behind bars.
“We will bring them to justice and recover looted money of innocent people and deposit it in the national exchequer,” he said.
The NAB chairman answered queries of businessmen and said that NAB had no affiliation with any party, group or individual as NAB’s first and foremost priority was the progress and prosperity of the country.
He said NAB was conducting accountability without any discrimination. NAB was to serve people and not to intimidate them, he added.
Criticising fake housing societies, the NAB chairman said that such societies had robbed poor people by posting alluring advertisements despite having no or little land.
Earlier, the FPCCI president in his address appreciated efforts and commitment of Justice Javed Iqbal for resolving issues of the business community personally.