ISLAMABAD: Vowing to implement the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, promulgated on Wednesday, the National Accountability Bureau on Thursday presented its three-year performance since its incumbent chairman, retired Justice Javed Iqbal, assumed charge of his office.
“NAB always believes working in accordance with the law. NAB will implement NAB ordinance in letter and spirit as per the law,” a NAB spokesperson said when asked by Dawn about the bureau’s reaction to the new ordinance.
Experts believe that the ordinance has nothing new, saying that it is only for prolonging chairmanship of Mr Iqbal.
The NAB headquarters released a summary of NAB cases, inquiries, investigations, references, court decisions and recoveries made over past three years.
It said the NAB chief presided over a high-level meeting and reviewed overall performance of all regional bureaus of NAB, especially convictions made during the present term of the NAB chairman (from October 2017 till October 7, 2021).
Director General Operation Zahir Shah said that 11 accused persons were convicted in 2021 till September by accountability courts in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Similarly, 13 accused persons in 2020, nine accused persons in 2019 and 21 accused persons in 2018 were convicted. During the current year, he said, 21 accused persons were convicted by different accountability courts in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Similarly, 21 accused persons in 2020, 25 accused persons in 2019, eight accused persons in 2018 were convicted by different other courts.
The NAB chief said the bureau from October 2017 to October 7, 2021, has recovered Rs539 billion from corrupt elements which is a record achievement as compared to previous years.
He said the NAB’s anti-corruption strategy has proved to be very successful and that it has been lauded by reputed national and international organisations.
Some of the important clauses of the new ordinances are reappointment of ex-NAB chairman. Decisions of the federal/provincial cabinets and all government forums will not come in within the purview of NAB. Similarly, procedural lapses, advices, reports of public office holders will not come under the NAB’s radar.
Talking to Dawn, former NAB’s prosecutor general Irfan Qadir said: “There is nothing new in the ordinance which had not been implemented or proposed in the past, but a clause that allows reappointment of ex-NAB chairman.”
Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2021