PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to frame new law and rules for restructuring the administrative setup of Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) to make it more effective on modern lines.

A meeting held here on Monday with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair decided to hire staff with the required qualification and experience on permanent basis to strengthen the investigation side of ACE with the aim to make it a specialised unit for investigating white collar crimes, according to a statement.

The meeting reviewed the existing legal framework, mandate, performance and administrative structure of ACE.

Provincial ministers Sultan Khan and Akbar Ayub, special assistants to chief minister Shafillah Khan and Kamran Bangash, head of strategic support unit, Sahinzada Saeed and secretaries of establishment and law, principal secretary to chief minister and ACE Director Usman Khan attended the meeting.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister termed accountability, merit and transparency as top most priorities of his government. He said that ACE would be strengthened and fully empowered to have vigilant eye on corruption and malpractices. He added that all available resources would be utilised for the purpose.

He said that anyone found involved in such practices would not be spared and would be dealt with an iron hand. He directed the authorities concerned that no provision should be kept for any sort of plea bargaining in the new law and rules of ACE. He added that realistic timelines should be prescribed in the new rules for the timely disposal of inquiries and complaints.

The chief minister said that besides the draft of new law and rules, a workable strategy should also be prepared for the administrative restructuring of ACE within one month.

The meeting was given a detailed presentation on the achievements and performance of ACE. It was told that in the year 2016, average ratio of complaints disposal was five per day that was increased to 12 per day.

“During the last two years, ACE has disposed of more than 6,000 complaints and more than 2,000 inquiries whereas ratio of case disposal in the year 2016 was 35 per cent which has now been increased to 63 per cent,” the meeting was informed. It was said that during the last two years, ACE made a recovery of Rs250 million.

The meeting was informed that biometric attendance system was introduced in ACE to ensure 100 per cent attendance of the staff whereas performance reports of all the investigation staff, inspectors and assistant directors were being compiled on daily basis. It was told that anti-corruption call centre was being launched in the near future to facilitate people in registering their complaints.

The chief minister expressed satisfaction over the overall performance of ACE.

He directed the quarters concerned to publish a whitepaper on the achievements of ACE.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2020