NAB provides recovery details after ministry’s claims

Published November 11, 2021
A file view of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) office in Islamabad. — APP
A file view of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) office in Islamabad. — APP

• Spokesperson says out of Rs821bn, amount related to federal govt departments deposited with ministry
• Indirect recovery handed over to relevant quarters

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday issued details of Rs821 billion recoveries it made in cases of white collar crime since the bureau’s inception in 1999.

The details were officially shared with the media in view of a controversy generated after the finance ministry announced on Nov 4 that it had only received Rs6.458bn out of the total Rs821bn.

The NAB spokesman claimed that out of Rs821bn recoveries, only Rs6.458bn related to the federal government departments were deposited with the finance ministry while the remaining was returned to the concerned provinces, banks and individuals.

According to the NAB headquarters, since its inception, the anti-graft watchdog recovered Rs821.573bn directly and indirectly till Sept 2021.

As per the statement, it said indirect recovery amounting to Rs500.65bn had directly been handed over to the relevant quarters, including the owners, claimants and other entities.

Some other recoveries included loan defaults and funds of financial institutions such as Punjab Cooperative Board for Liquidation (Punjab Cooperative Board Limited), which amounted to Rs198.057 billion. They have also been returned to the respective financial institutions.

Similarly, recoveries of fines amounting to Rs45.915bn imposed by various accountability courts were recovered under the relevant provisions of law.

The option of voluntary return and plea bargain are availed by the accused persons during the course of inquiries and investigations. The recoveries under the subject provisions are in cash and kind. However, the Supreme Court has ordered not to exercise the option of voluntary return vide petition no 17/2016.

The amount recovered under voluntary returns and plea bargain deals totalled Rs54.902bn while the remaining recoveries were in kind.

Moreover, Rs46.22bn had been disbursed to the respective provincial/federal entities concerned as per law.

In a recent meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and later in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting, the finance ministry expressed surprise over the massive gap in the claims and actual funds received by the national treasury. The Senate body therefore decided to seek help from the auditor general of Pakistan for a special audit.

In a paper sent to the Senate committee, NAB claimed Rs76bn as voluntary refund or plea bargain, Rs122bn as bank loan default recoveries, Rs60bn recovery on account of restructuring of loans, Rs46bn in court fines and over Rs500bn under various ‘indirect recoveries’.

In the standing committee meeting, Additional Finance Secretary Tanveer Butt had informed the panel that only Rs6.458bn had been received in non-tax revenue over the past 16 years on account of NAB recoveries.

“The money was not being deposited in government accounts. It is not known in which account NAB had deposited Rs821bn,” he had said.

Senator Saleem Mandviwala had said funds received from the National Crimes Agency, UK, had also not been deposited in the national kitty and was perhaps still being withheld.

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2021

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