ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal on Tuesday defended laws relating to physical remand of accused and plea bargain.
Speaking at a function held to distribute recovered money among the victims of different scams at the Rawalpindi NAB, Justice Iqbal said the provisions of NAB laws had not been declared ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘illegal’ even by the Supreme Court during their thorough study in the Asfandyar Wali case.
Regarding criticism of physical remand of the accused for 90 days, he said: “NAB cannot complete its investigation in 15 days.”
Rejects criticism, saying investigation cannot be completed in 15 days
The NAB chief said he had a great respect for parliament and always abided by its directives, but it was illogical to force the bureau to go for a 15-day remand.
“It [corruption] is not a crime like robbery, dacoity or murder in which police arrest the accused, record their confessional statements, visit the crime scene and present the challan before a court,” he said.
Justice Iqbal said: “NAB deals with the white-collar crime in which money is transferred from Lahore [for example] to the US via Islamabad and Dubai and property is purchased through this money in the US or it is deposited in banks there.”
He said it had become difficult to get information about an accused and his/her assets from foreign countries because they had their own laws and policies.
Supporting the provision of plea bargain in the NAB Ordinance, 1999, Justice Iqbal claimed that no other anti-graft agency could collect that amount of money which NAB had recovered through plea bargain.
He said the Rawalpindi NAB had always played a prominent role in contributing towards the overall performance of the bureau.
Justice Iqbal distributed Rs748 million among the victims of three housing societies — Shaheen Foundation, Tele Town Housing Societies and Chargia Housing Society, Wah.
He said that because of NAB’s proactive strategy and excellent performance for eradication of corruption from the country, the Corruption Perception Index of Pakistan had continuously decreased. Organisations like Pildat, Mishal, Gillani and Gallop Survey, Transparency International and World Economic Forum had acknowledged NAB’s performance, he added.
“Our success as the country’s biggest apex anti-corruption agency inspires us to redouble our efforts in performance of our national duty with more professionalism, dedication and commitment to eradicate the menace of corruption from our beloved motherland in all its forms and manifestations,” he added.
He said NAB’s conviction rate was more than 70 per cent and it had recovered Rs297 billion since its inception from corrupt elements. “Today 1,210 corruption references are under trial involving Rs900 billion,” he said.
The NAB chief said the bureau was the only organisation in the world with whom China had signed a memorandum of understanding to streamline cooperation in the field of anti-corruption and to oversee projects being undertaken under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
NAB has established its first forensic science lab which has facilities of digital forensics, questioning documents and analysing fingerprints.
He said that the bureau had introduced a new system of Combine Investigation Team (CIT) in order to benefit from the experience and collective wisdom of senior supervisory officers.
“A system of CIT comprising a director, additional director, investigation officer and a senior legal counsel has been put in place. This will not only lend quality to the work but also ensure that no single individual can influence the proceedings. The results of CIT are very encouraging,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Rawalpindi NAB director general Irfan Naeem Mangi said 7,841 complaints were received last year and more than 7,000 of them were disposed of.
Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2019