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December 14, 2012

Daily corruption hovers around Rs12 bn: NAB chief

December 14, 2012

ISLAMABAD: NAB Chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari on Thursday upped the daily corruption figure from Rs6-7 billion to Rs10-12 billion which amounted to Rs4,000-5,000 billion per annum.
Addressing a press conference here at the NAB headquarters on Thursday, he presented a fact sheet on corruption and baffled the listeners by raising the figure. “The nexus between the legislature and executive which aggravated corruption in the ’80s and ’90s has now become monstrous,” he said.
The allegation of the daily corruption figure of Rs6-7 billion by the NAB chairman had already disturbed the government. The increase in the amount compounded the issue further. Fasih Bokhari said that the figure of Rs6-7 billion was a conservative estimate. “If the banking sector, land grabbing and encroachments and loans and wilfull defaults are also included in it, the corruption figure may jump to Rs15 billion a day.”
He added: “A flood of corruption is flowing in which there are fish and crocodiles, but rather than catching them, we have to tap the flow of corruption so that the fish and crocodiles die a natural death when the flow of corruption stops.”
Justifying the figures he said that figures of billions quoted by NAB were conservative and based on annual direct losses.
Citing the assessment, he said that the average acceptable world tax to GDP ratio was at least 20 percent while in Pakistan the tax to GDP ration was only 9 percent which meant a total loss of Rs2,500 billion to Rs3,000 billion annually.
He said the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) assessment of corruption was Rs300-350 billion.He said the losses in state enterprises due to incompetence and corruption ranged between Rs300-350 billion while NAB’s assessment of direct losses in mega projects (mis-procurements) was Rs350 billion. Adding up, it came to Rs4000-5000 billion annually and the average per day came to Rs10-12 billion.
He said indirect losses in the sector that

had not been quantified include: the agriculture
sector; 20 percent of GDP is untaxed, the revenue department,land grabbing and encroachments, loans/wilfull defaults, over staffing/ghost schools and hospitals, wealth tax losses (doctors/shopkeepers/ lawyers/consultant etc), customs duties/draw backs, energy losses due to load shedding (2 percent of GDP, approximately Rs 960 billion per year), mega projects delay and cost, administrative costs, foreign exchange out flow and banking sector.
The NAB chairman said that corruption is no longer a party-centric or incident-centric phenomenon but is now an attitude across the board.
“NAB is committed to an anti-corruption strategy that is achieving success on pillars of awareness, prevention and prosecution in the same order of priority. We are all Pakistanis and it is a problem for all of us and we all have to jointly fight it out with awareness and dedication,” he added.
In reply to a question regarding the NAB cooperation with the cabinet committee on corruption, he said NAB will cooperate with the committee. “We all support the government as nobody is anti-government,” he added.
In reply to another question, Chairman NAB said that corruption was a longstanding issue of Pakistan and that even the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had talked of its elimination.
Fasih Bokhari reiterated his claim that corruption was taking place at a large scale in Pakistan, and said that the corruption was a global menace and that international anti-corruption agencies were making efforts to eradicate it.
The NAB chairman further said that it was imperative to amend the system in order to stamp out corruption.
When asked about the rejection of the NAB reports by the Supreme Court, the chairman said if the Supreme Court is not satisfied with the NAB then we have to improve our performance.
Asked whether NAB activism was linked to reports that the next caretaker government will get an extension for accountability before elections, Chairman NAB said it was not a time when there were any military or judicial coups. “I don’t think anyone will accept an extension of caretakers,” he added.
He said that the time has come when everyone should avoid labelling the other as corrupt. “It’s time to find the solution to stamp out the menace of corruption,” he added.
In reply to a question regarding the Malik Riaz and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar tax evasion case, he said it was not the job of NAB but of the Federal Bureau of Revenue.
Asked about whether NAB would take up the tax evasion issue of parliamentarians, he passed the buck on to the FBR saying that it came under the purview of the FBR.
To yet another question he said that during last one year, NAB has recovered Rs80 billion.
On the Pakistan index on corruption, he said the CPI index by Transparency International since the last 10-15 years has been rating Pakistan between 23-27 percent. “A decrease in rating must be seen in the perspective of increasing number of countries in the index,” he added.
He pointed out that international corruption evaluation structures are based on direct leakage parameters and not indirect losses.
INP adds: The NAB chairman regretted the criticism of NAB by the cabinet over identifying corruption in different state institutions and pointed out that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), FBR and Transparency International in their reports have estimated 10 to 12 billion rupees daily corruption but according to NAB estimates it is Rs7 billion.
“Not three, there are only two pillars of the state now in Pakistan,” the NAB chief said, clarifying that a pillar consists of legislators and executives and the other one is the judiciary. He said problems are being encountered in eliminating corruption because of lack of unity in the three pillars of the state. He emphasized the need for creating a balance in the troika.
AFP adds: NAB, which is answerable to the Pakistani president, was accused by the government of making ill-timed allegations ahead of elections. In the past, the Supreme Court has accused it of being ineffective

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