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April 1, 2013

NAB to provide ECP with details of convicts, defaulters, says Fasih

Newspost

 
April 1, 2013

ISLAMABAD: NAB Chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari on Sunday said that NAB would provide the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) with details of convicts, including details of Plea Bargain (PB) and bank loan default cases, about the candidates referred under Section 31-C. This could be done whether the transaction is an inquiry, investigation, trial or completed through PB/Voluntary Return (VR).
The NAB chief said that the relevant wings had been directed to facilitate the ECP in holding fair and free elections and election cells had been set up at the NAB headquarters and provincial regional offices.
He said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) saved Rs200 billion from being swindled by intervening in projects and procurements worth Rs1.5 trillion during last year.The NAB chairman in an interview with this agency said that the bureau had tried to nip corruption in the bud, which was manifested by its intervention in high profile cases, involving huge somes of money. The small-scale cases were to be tackled by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Anti-Corruption Establishment, police and other departments like Customs and Taxation, which had their own courts.
He said despite manpower shortage NAB had revitalised its functioning when it was on the verge of collapse. “Currently, we are running our affairs with 28 per cent strength. Though we have recruited 260 new investigators, the shortage still exists,” the NAB chairman added.
He said the new officers, who would be trained in six months, would strengthen the enforcement. Around 40 of the new investigators would be sent abroad for further training on the basis of their performance. NAB, in that regard, had already made arrangements with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the investigation and anti-corruption agencies of the European Union.
He said NAB would empower the regulators to advance meritocracy, fair play and transparency, to promote awareness and combat

corruption, which had eaten up the very core of the country’s system.
Replying to a question, Fasih said today’s NAB was different from the one headed by General (retd) Amjad, who had the full backing of the army. “At that time the NAB recovered Rs180 billion from tax and loan defaulters as the main force behind that recovery was the armed forces.
But later, NAB’s recovery dropped to a single digit. However, having no such backing, the NAB has recovered Rs25 billion during last year,” he said.He ruled out the impression that the NAB was still being used as a tool for political victimization, saying it had always worked independently and would continue to perform its functions.
When asked about the slow investigation process, the NAB chairman said that probing financial crimes was a highly complex and complicated process. White collar criminals were highly intelligent and savvy in financial dealings and regulations and finding prosecutable evidence against them to secure conviction under the current outdated Evidence Act was time consuming. The investigators also need modern training, he added.
“To deal with white collar crime is not as easy as it seems to be. Unfortunately we do not have innovative and advance expertise to prove and investigate the forensic evidence,” he remarked.
Despite being a time-consuming process, we are striving hard to complete the probes as early as possible, he added. “I have already directed the NAB operations and prosecution wings to actively pursue all high profile cases, including rental power producers (RPPs) and Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) cases so as the references can be filed if sufficient court-worthy evidence is available,” Fasih Bokhari added.
About the suo moto notice taken by the NAB on tax evasion of telecom companies, Fasih Bokhari said the case was under investigation and its findings would be shared with the media.
Cellular companies may be more important for media organisations because of their commercial interests on account of advertisements, but NAB will not spare any corrupt individual or institution, he added.