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November 20, 2020

Anti-corruption drive recovered Rs206 bn in 27 months: CM Usman Buzdar

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November 20, 2020

LAHORE: Recoveries to the tune of over Rs 206 billion have been made in the province during the last 27 months in an anti-corruption drive.

This was said by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar while addressing a joint press conference along with Advisor to PM on Accountability Shahzad Akbar at his office on Thursday. Provincial Ministers Raja Basharat and Mian Mahmood-ur-Rasheed were also present.

The CM said the PTI government has reformed the Anti-corruption Establishment and added that the looters will not be pardoned. The government took action against the powerful mafia which snatched away public resources and kept people deprived of even the basic resources during the last 30 years. He said the anti-corruption campaign has proved fruitful and the big fish have been brought under the net of the law. Some critics doubted the dawn of change in the province but they must realize that Punjab is transformed for a better tomorrow.

The CM said the ACE received 51,050 complaints; it conducted 11,488 inquiries while registering 3,185 cases and arresting 3,904 criminals. The 27-month recovery was 532 per cent higher than that of the last ten years. Recoveries amounting to Rs 43 crore were made in ten years but the recoveries amount rose to well over 2.30 billion in the last 27 months. The state lands' recovery ratio in 27 months remained 6,172 per cent higher than in the last 10 years. State lands worth Rs 2.6 billion were recovered during the last ten years but in a period of 27 months, government lands worth more than Rs 181 billion have been recovered and all the money has been deposited in the government kitty.

Similarly, the CM said, the ratio of retrieval of state land in the PTI government is 6,172 per cent more when compared with ten years. During the last ten years, the state land worth 2.6 billion was retrieved while the PTI government has recovered state land worth more than Rs 181 billion in 27 months. The chief minister said the government is following the policy of zero-tolerance against corruption and action has been initiated against gubernatorial cabal which remained active in loot and plunder of resources in the past, he said. Explaining the reasons for fewer recoveries in the past, he said powerful people continued to occupy important posts. They kept the institutions under their influence and also occupied national resources. The resources are the sacred trust of people and the government is retrieving this trust back from the corrupt to return them to people. The recovered resources will be utilized for the public welfare and this is also a manifesto of the PTI government, he added.

Buzdar said people will be the direct beneficiary of this anti-corruption campaign and the resources will be utilized on different public welfare schemes. “I am thankful to those who took part in this campaign. It is a national mission which will be moving forward with passion and commitment.” This anti-corruption campaign will be continued in Punjab with more zeal and vigour, he added.

Replying to media questions, the CM emphasized that the corona situation is being monitored while maintaining best coordination with the federal government. The decisions will be made according to the situation. To a question, he said the staff shortage will be overcome in the ACE and recruitments will be made on vacant posts.

Shahzad Akbar said the PTI-led Punjab government has made the ACE an autonomous institution and as a result, its working has much improved. He regretted that the ACE was used under political influence during the last ten years but the institutional performance improved when it was liberated from political domination by the incumbent government. There is no past example of recoveries and retrieval of state lands as made during the 27 months as recoveries to the tune of more than 206 billion rupees have been made. The Sicilian mafia used to squatter state lands and the same has been mentioned by a Supreme Court judge in the Panama case judgement. People, having tremendous political influence, are part of this mafia and the head of the Sicilian mafia is mentioned in the SC judgement. People will be the direct beneficiary of the recoveries made by the ACE and the amount will be spent on Sehat Insaf cards, Ehsaas Programme and anti-corona drive. The same mafia which used to take benefit of such illegal activities will make hue and cry over this drive, he added.

The state and people have the first right over the state land and Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised that they will not give ‘NRO’ in the Centre or the province. The looters will have to be answerable for their misdeeds. He said 6,474 complaints have been received through Report Corruption Mobile App of the Punjab government and besides making recoveries of more than 2 billion rupees, 5196 complaints have also been resolved. He termed it as a good initiative of the Punjab government and urged other provinces to introduce such mobile applications, adding that the federal government is ready to cooperate in this regard.

To a question, he said action will be taken against every looter and it is not a party-specific activity but indiscriminate action is taken against looters of resources. There is no doubt that influential personalities illegally used their power in the past, he added. To another question, he emphasized that besides criminal proceedings, fines will also be imposed on those who occupied the state land and took different benefits. The Multan case will be challenged in the high court, he said. To another question, he said the PTI government believes in self-accountability and action will be taken against all those who looted national resources. He disclosed that the British government has been approached for the return of Nawaz Sharif as he is an absconder.