NAB sets up complaint cell for business community

Dawn

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal said on Sunday that the anti-corruption watchdog had established a separate cell for registration of complaints of the business community.

It has been learnt that the cell has started its work and complaints are being entertained separately.

Reviewing the performance of NAB, Justice Iqbal said in a statement that the eradication of corruption had become imperative as the menace had spread like cancer.

Chairman decides to probe mega frauds instead of laying hands on petty offences

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Finance Minister Asad Umar have said several times in the recent past that the business community and investors were afraid of NAB’s activism and what they called “harassment”.

A parallel complaints cell for the business community has also been set up at the Prime Minister Office.

According to the All Pakistan Contractors Association, the contractors who had executed mega development projects during the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-N government were being harassed by NAB. As a result, all development activities have come to a halt and even the projects being carried out under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor have stopped.

The NAB chairman has decided to only investigate mega frauds and white collar scams instead of laying hands on petty offences. Now petty corruption cases will be sent to relevant anti-corruption departments and the Federal Investigation Agency.

Justice Iqbal said that according to recent survey reports, 59 per cent people expressed confidence in the performance of NAB whereas Pakistan has been ranked at 107th in the International Economic Forum’s International Corruption Perception Index.

“Each and every person wants to eliminate corruption but the single most viable solution of achieving the goal is to ensure self-accountability and if everybody avoids corruption, nepotism and bribery, this will definitely help in materialising the dream of making Pakistan free of corruption.”

He said steps were being taken to check the menace of money laundering and return the money stashed abroad to the country.

NAB, he said, had fixed a period of 10 months from complaint verification to filing reference against the corrupt. The complaint verification, inquiries and investigations were being strictly concluded within the prescribed time frame of 10 months only, he added.

Taking mega corruption cases to logical conclusion was a priority of NAB, he said, adding that the bureau had filed 105 mega corruption cases in various accountability courts from out of a total of 179 mega corruption cases registered.

Justice Iqbal said NAB conducted white collar corruption investigations after securing comprehensive evidence, documentary proofs and as per law. “Right now, as many as 1,210 corruption references involving Rs900 billion are at various stages of hearing in different accountability courts,” he added.

He said NAB had deposited record over Rs297bn in the national exchequer after recovering from the corrupt elements. The ongoing investigations into fake housing and cooperative societies would be concluded soon, he added.

He said that the bureau had filed a reference against Mufti Ehsan in a Modaraba case and the latter had been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined Rs9bn. The NAB chief said the bureau was trying its best to apprehend 34 culprits involved in Modaraba/Musharaka scandals and repatriating absconders from abroad through Interpol.

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