ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is meeting on Monday (today) to devise a strategy to vigorously pursue 1,230 references in accountability courts and lay hands on proclaimed offenders and absconders.
According to a source, the meeting is being held in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s order to the government to set up 120 more accountability courts in the country within a month. At present, NAB has 25 courts in the country which are said to be inadequate for early disposal of references involving Rs743 billion.
“There are about 1,230 corruption references in the accountability courts and their worth is approximately Rs743 billion,” NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal said in a statement.
The meeting of anti-graft watchdog is taking place days after Prime Minister Imran Khan requested the Supreme Court and NAB to dispose of mega corruption cases (against opposition leaders or those involved in money laundering) as soon as possible.
SC has directed govt to establish another 120 accountability courts in a month
A press release issued by NAB said: “The NAB chairman directed all regional bureaus to utilise all resources to arrest proclaimed offenders and absconders.”
The apex court has directed the government to establish another 120 accountability courts in a month, but it is believed that this could not be done in 30 days.
However, NAB believes that no matter how many are actually set up new courts will help the anti-graft watchdog dispose of the pending corruption references early.
The Monday’s meeting will be attended by Deputy Chairman of NAB Hussain Asghar, prosecutor general for accountability, director general operations and all directors general of regional bureaus.
“During the meeting, a strategy to further revamp operations and prosecution divisions of NAB will be chalked out in order to vigorously pursue references in the respected accountability courts besides further improvement of the performance of all regional bureaus of NAB in conduct of complaint verifications, inquires, investigations on the basis of solid evidence as per law,” it was officially announced.
NAB said the prosecution division was being revamped by inducting experienced legal consultants/special prosecutors. A mechanism of witness handling cells has been introduced in all the regional bureaus and the results of this intervention are very encouraging.
Due to constant deliberations, monitoring and performance analysis of the operations and prosecution division, the overall conviction ratio is approximately 68.8 per cent in the respected accountability courts, which is one of the best conviction ratios.
Justice Iqbal said logical disposal of mega corruption cases was a challenging task but NAB was determined to bring the corrupt elements to justice. He said NAB had also introduced a Combined Investigation Team (CIT) system in order to benefit from the experience and collective wisdom of senior supervisory officers.
He said NAB had also implemented an effective Monitoring and Evaluation System in its headquarters and all regional bureaus in order to review their performance in qualitative and quantitative terms which had proved very successful in enhancing the performance of all divisions of NAB including regional bureaus.
Mr Iqbal said NAB was absolutely committed to working transparently, fairly, professionally as Pakistan was considered as a role model for Saarc countries in eradication of corruption.
He said that NAB had recovered Rs466 billion directly and indirectly from corrupt elements and deposited the funds in the national kitty.
“Pakistan is the only country with which China has signed an MoU for overseeing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects in Pakistan and NAB is the first chairman of Saarc Anti-Corruption Forum which is a great achievement for Pakistan,” he added.
Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2020