Friday July 01, 2022

NAB committed to ‘accountability of all’

October 06, 2020

Considering corruption being mother of all evils, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was established in 1999 as Pakistan’s apex anti-corruption organisation which operates under National Accountability Ordinance-1999 which is extended to whole of Pakistan including Fata and Gilgit-Baltistan. NAB has its Headquarter in Islamabad and it has eight regional offices located at Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Sukkur, Quetta, Peshawar, Karachi and Gilgit Baltistan. NAB under the present leadership of honourable Mr. Justice Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB not only adopted proactive and holistic National Anti-Corruption Strategy of Awareness, Prevention and Enforcement but announced ‘Accountability for all’ policy.

During the tenure of honourable Mr. Justice Javed Iqbal, NAB had initiated various complaint verifications, inquiries, investigations and filed corruption references. Inquiries on issues including corruption reports in 56 public limited companies of Punjab, 435 offshore companies of Pakistanis in Panama and British Virgin Islands, return of housing societies’ plundered money reports, arrest of absconders and proclaimed offenders. Furthermore, the NAB chairman has started listening public complaints on every last Thursday of the month and directed DGs of regional bureaus to listen public complaints related to corruption in their respective regional bureaus. The same order was conveyed to all DGs and they have listened the complaints of citizen at their respective bureaus. The response from citizen was very encouraging and they appreciated the initiative of NAB chairman for opening the doors of NAB for general public. NAB chairman had also summoned three Executive Board meetings and authorised filing of references in various accountability courts after due deliberation. NAB during the period of present management of NAB have received Rs363 billion directly and indirectly from corrupt elements and deposited in national exchequer which is a record achievement. The figures of complaints, inquiries and investigations are almost double as compared to the same period of 2018 to 2019. The comparative figures are indicative of the hard work being put in by all ranks of NAB staff in an atmosphere of renewed energy and dynamism, where fight against corruption is being taken as a national duty. Increase in the number of complaints also reflects enhanced public trusted in the NAB.

NAB’s operational methodology comprises of complaint verification, inquiry and investigation. NAB’s officers/officials need to follow strict Code of Conduct/SOPs and merit according to law. Starting from the year 2017 which can be called basically a year of reinvigoration of NAB, we have moved with new zeal and effort. During the tenure of present management of NAB, the overall convection ratio in respective accountability courts is about 68.8 percent which is excellent as compared any other anti-corruption agency.

NAB has established its first Forensic Science Lab (FSL) in NAB Rawalpindi which has facilities of Digital Forensics, Questioned Documents and Fingerprint Analysis. NAB has rationalised its workload and timelines have been prescribed for efficient, effective and expeditious disposal of cases putting a maximum limit of 10 months - from complaint verification-to-inquiry-to-investigation and finally to a reference in the accountability court. NAB has also introduced a new System of Combine Investigation Team (CIT) in order to benefit from the experience and collective wisdom of senior supervisory officers, a system of CIT comprising of Director, Additional Director, Investigation Officer and a Senior Legal Counsel has been put in place. This is not only lending quality to the work but also ensuring that no single individual can influence the official proceedings of NAB.

As per the latest report of Transparency International (TI) of 2016, Pakistan’s ranking in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has improved plus 9 points, adding that Pakistan was considering role model in South Asian countries in its efforts against corruption. This is a great achievement for Pakistan due to NAB efforts.

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in the Pakistan as per Transparency International (TI), report was declining after 2013 due to steps taken by the present management of NAB against the corrupt. Besides Transparency International, the Independent National and International watch dogs like PLIDAT and World Economic Forum had also appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to curb corruption in Pakistan. NAB in collaboration with HEC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and in a very short span of time established over 50 thousands Character Building Societies (CBSs) in the country in universities/colleges and schools to create awareness against corruption.

Under the leadership of Honourable Mr. Justice Javed Iqbal, NAB has undertaken a number of strategic initiatives aimed at rejuvenation of the organisation. The Organogram was revisited to transform NAB into an efficient and responsive organisation. NAB has devised a Quantifiable Grading System (QGS) to monitor the performance of all regions of NAB on annual basis. From 2015, under QGS NAB is monitoring the performance of all regional NAB’s and NAB headquarter on annual basis in order to know the strengths and weaknesses of NAB regional bureaus. NAB has also introduced Internal Accountability Mechanism (IAM) System.

NAB has developed an effective Monitoring and Evaluation System (MES) catering the needs of all concerned having salient features of maintenance of data at each stage including complaint entry, complaint verification, inquiry, investigation, prosecution stage and record preservation of Regional Board Meetings and Executive Board Meetings including case brief, decisions made and list of participants attended the meeting with time & date and setting up of an effective Monitoring and Evaluation System and ability to analyse data in qualitative and quantitative form having warnings and alarms system for violators. A pilot project of NAB Rawalpindi was completed. He said that the outcome of the pilot project of NAB Rawalpindi is being shared with all regional bureaus with the directions to replicate it in all regional bureaus of NAB for effective monitoring and evaluation to implement MES system across NAB in order to further improve the working of NAB.

NAB had hosted the first Saarc seminar in Islamabad where the heads of Saarc anti-corruption authorities agreed to the creation of Saarc Anti-Corruption Forum. Pakistan was elected as first Chairman of Saarc Anti-Corruption Forum. This is a major achievement both for the NAB as well as the government. NAB on bilateral cooperation, has signed an MoU with China to streamline and structure and cooperation in the fields of anti-corruption. In the context of CPEC this cooperation will further boost confidence in projects undertaken in Pakistan. On the directions of honourable Mr. Justice Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB, NAB has started Awareness and Prevention Campaign besides Enforcement drive in order to arrest corrupt and recover from them hard earned looted money of innocent people and also aware people through its Awareness and Prevention campaign under Section 33C of NAO 1999 about the ill-effects of corruption.

NAB has constituted Prevention Committee in the countries including Prevention Committee in order to identify loopholes and proposed workable recommendations in consultations with all stakeholders. NAB has also been engaging different governmental and non-governmental organisations and civil society in fight against corruption as NAB chairman strongly believes in eradication of corruption by adopting Zero Tolerance Policy across the country without any fear and favour.

NAB hopes that joint efforts of all stakeholders can collaborate to check corruption and corrupt practices before happening with the help of all stakeholders, civil society, media and people at large.

The writer is spokesman of NAB