ISLAMABAD: Amid criticism from opposition parties over the working of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the anti-graft watchdog has decided to pursue mega corruption cases only and transfer low-magnitude cases to other anti-corruption departments in order to ensure disposal of the cases within the stipulated time frame.

The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal on Thursday.

According to an official announcement issued by a NAB spokesman, the meeting had been convened to review “overall performance” of regional bureaus of NAB.

The NAB chief directed them to dispose of mega corruption cases on a priority basis, besides transferring ‘low-magnitude cases’ to other anti-corruption departments so that the cases of all nature could be disposed of within 10 month’s prescribed time frame. He warned the officials of strict action in case of non-complaince.

‘Low-magnitude cases’ to be transferred to anti-corruption departments

Speaking to the participants, the NAB chief, in an apparent reference to the criticism of its working and the opposition’s allegations of political victimisation, said the bureau did not believe in “revenge”, adding that the complainants should be dealt with respectfully.

“NAB has devised an effective operational mechanism for conducting complaint verification, investigations and inquiries by utilising collective wisdom of senior supervisory staff. Now onwards, no one could dare influence investigations,” he declared.

The NAB chairman said that the bureau was seriously working for a corruption-free Pakistan and putting all its resources and energies together to arrest proclaimed offenders, absconders and corrupt elements on the basis of solid evidence as per law.

The participants of the meeting were informed that NAB had apprehended 503 corrupt elements over the last 12 months. Besides this, NAB registered complaints against 44,315 persons, out of which 1,713 were verified, inquiries were initiated against 877 persons, investigations were conducted against 227 persons and 440 corruption references were filed in different accountability courts.

The participants were told that NAB had deposited a record Rs2.58 billion in the national exchequer after recovering it from the corrupt.

The NAB chairman said the basic aim of “friendly-NAB” was to not only inform a complainant about progress in his complaint but also ensuring transparency in complaint registration and resolution system.

“This has increased confidence over NAB besides helping in promotion of transparency and merit,” he added.

The meeting was informed that during the tenure of the incumbent chairman, Pakistan’s ranking had improved by nine points in international corruption index ratio. Pakistan is currently occupying the 107th position from out of 140 countries.

The participants were informed that the International Economic Forum in its 2018 report had revealed that corruption had decreased in Pakistan as only 99 cases of corruption were reported in 2018 as compared to 107 last year.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2018

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