NAB begins another corruption inquiry against Shehbaz

Published March 4, 2021
The national anti-graft watchdog on Wednesday decided to initiate another corruption inquiry against jailed Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif.  — AFP/File
The national anti-graft watchdog on Wednesday decided to initiate another corruption inquiry against jailed Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The national anti-graft watchdog on Wednesday decided to initiate another corruption inquiry against jailed Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif.

However, an inquiry against former finance minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Ishaq Dar was closed owing to lack of incriminating evidence against him.

The decision to initiate an inquiry against Mr Sharif was taken by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at a meeting of its executive board that was presided over by its chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal.

“In total the EBM [Executive Board Meeting] accorded approval [for] conducting eight inquiries against various personalities, including Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, being former chief minister [of] Punjab; Riaz Lal Gee; Ali Sher Mehsud, former member of the National Highway Authority (NHA); Malik Ahmed Khan, CEO, Public-Private Partnership Authority; officers/officials of the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA); Asadullah Faiz, Joint Secretary [of] Health Ministry; officers/officials of Small Dams Organisation and others; and management of the National Food Security and Research,” said a NAB statement.

The board meeting also deliberated on the closure of Roosevelt Hotel in New York after a hundred years and decided to review the terms of reference of a committee constituted by the government to look into the matter.

Bureau’s board decides to close inquiry against former finance minister due to lack of evidence

The meeting also approved filing of two references against various personalities on graft charges. The first reference is against a former chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and others accused of allotting two cancelled commercial plots by abusing their authority, which inflicted a loss of Rs200 million on the national exchequer, sources said.

The second one is against Liaquat Ali Khan, a former director general for Parks and Horticulture, Karachi Municipal Corporation, and others for illegally allotting a plot reserved for welfare activities.

During its meeting, the NAB board decided to refer investigations against officials of the National Database and Registration Authority to the interior ministry for further action.

Similarly, investigations in two cases were referred to the CDA in accordance with the law. And investigations against officers/officials of the NAH were referred to the Ministry of Communications for further action.

The meeting also allowed closure of inquiries against former finance minister Ishaq Dar; Tariq Bajwa, a former chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue; officers/officials of the irrigation department; and Nasir Mehmood Abbasi, owing to lack of incriminating evidence at the moment.

Besides Justice Iqbal, the meeting was attended by Hussain Asghar, NAB’s deputy chairman; Syed Asghar Haider, prosecutor general, accountability; Zahir Shah, director general, operations; Irfan Naeem Mangi, director general, NAB Rawalpindi; and other senior officers of the bureau.

“It is a yearlong policy of NAB to share the details of EBM with the public, which [step] does not aim to hurt the feelings of anyone, as all inquiries and investigations are initiated on the basis of allegations, which are not final. NAB decides to go ahead with a case after assessing the merits of the cases and after knowing the flip side of the coin,” the official media statement said.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2021

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