• Says bureau committed to taking cases to logical conclusion
• Mandviwala wants bureau to hold own officials accountable
ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Sunday claimed that it was an unbiased anti-white collar crime agency, maintaining a balance between cases involving the ruling alliance and the opposition.
In a statement, NAB chairman retired justice Javed Iqbal said the anti-graft watchdog was committed to taking mega corruption cases of the ruling alliance and the opposition to their logical conclusion.
Without taking any name, the chairman mentioned money laundering cases of leaders of the opposition and the ruling alliance allegedly involved in the recent sugar and wheat flour crises.
On the other hand, Senate Deputy Chairman and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Saleem Mandviwala, who is at loggerheads with NAB due to a case being investigated against him, said in a statement that the bureau should first hold its own officials accountable for their deeds and called for making details of the agreement between NAB and UK-based assets recovery firm, Broadsheet, public.
Justice Iqbal, on the other hand, claimed that NAB had solid proof of money laundering committed by the big fish, following which references were filed in accountability courts.
“NAB had submitted references in accountability courts on the basis of evidence,” he said.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar has claimed many times in the recent past that opposition leaders belonging to the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were using fake bank accounts of small vendors for transferring laundered money abroad.
“Concrete evidence of money laundering is available. Billions of rupees were siphoned off through fake accounts in the names of Faludawala, Chabriwala and Paparwala,” the NAB chief said.
Regarding cases being investigated against leaders of the ruling alliance for their alleged involvement in the recent sugar and wheat scandals, the chairman said: “The ongoing flour and sugar scam investigations will also be taken to their logical conclusion.”
He said Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, in his address to the National Assembly, had called bribery and nepotism the main curse.
“There is a difference between white collar and street crimes,” he added.
Mr Iqbal said NAB was the focal institution of Pakistan under UN convention against corruption and was presently chairing the Saarc Anti-Corruption Forum.
“NAB is considered a role model organisation in Saarc countries. International Economic, Transparency International Pakistan, Pildat and Mishal Pakistan have lauded its anti-corruption endeavours,” he said, adding that the bureau had so far deposited Rs714 billion since its inception which was a major achievement.
A total of 1,243 corruption cases, having accumulative corruption volume of Rs943 billion, were under trial in various accountability courts.
Highlighting NAB’s achievements, Justice Iqbal said the bureau had constituted Combined Investigation Team (CIT) to benefit from the collective wisdom of senior supervisory officers.
“The CIT comprises a director, additional director, investigation officer, legal counsel and experts of monetary and land revenue department,” he added.
The chairman said NAB officers were working with dedication as per law.
“NAB is on the right track due to the commitment of its officials,” he added.
He said the anti-graft watchdog had investigated mega white-collar corruption cases, adding that time was required to probe such cases as some information needed to be collected from abroad.
Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2021