Thursday October 21, 2021

21 cases sent to NAB to be referred to courts, PAC told

September 24, 2021
21 cases sent to NAB to be referred to courts, PAC told

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday assured the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that 21 cases out of those cases referred by the committee during the last three years would soon be referred to accountability courts after getting approval from the NAB Executive Board.

The PAC directed the FIA director general to come to the committee and give a briefing on the ongoing inquiries by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The meeting of the PAC was held with Rana Tanveer Hussain in the chair in which the progress report on the cases referred by the committee to the NAB and audit paras related to the Aviation Division for the year 2019-20 were examined. Rana Tanveer asked NAB officials to ask the NAB chairman that he should attend the PAC meeting.

He remarked that if the PAC can recover Rs 480 billion in the last three years, NAB should also deal with the cases referred by the PAC on a priority basis. The NAB director operations told the PAC that he would meet the NAB chairman and file the cases in the court after approval in a special executive board meeting. The official said NAB has recovered Rs1.29 billion from the BYCO and Rs 17.8 million from the Karkey Company.

PAC Member Manza Hassan said: “It is a shame for us that corruption cases are going up in the country.” PAC Member Senator Sherry Rehman raised the question of keeping Syed Khursheed Shah under investigation for the last two years and asked why the NAB is not filing a reference against him.

The NAB director Operations told the committee that the high court has twice denied bail to Khursheed Shah. “If the court releases him today, the NAB cannot stop this.” He said it is the policy of the NAB to make things better, the orders of the PAC are also implemented to improve the performance of the NAB.

Senator Talha Mahmood asked NAB officials why the Bureau does not implement merit in making cases. Syed Naveed Qamar said NAB kept him in jail for two years and then the court released him. “NAB gives sentence first and in which law of the world punishment is given first,” he questioned and said the NAB prosecutor general had told him in the Adiala Jail that it is a question mark on the NAB prestige as the NAB failed to prove the case against him.

Highlighting the progress on the cases referred by the PAC to NAB, the NAB director told the committee that the PAC had referred 307 audit paras to NAB which made cases on 198 paras, 54 are at the stage of inquiry, 91 references have gone to court and 13 references have been decided.

Chairman PIA Air Marshal (retd) Arshad Mahmood Malik while answering various questions of the committee members said the restructuring plan approved by the federal government for restructuring the airlines is subject to a report of IATA. He told the committee that the total deficit of the PIA has been reduced from Rs 490 billion to Rs 350 billion. He said the company's operating profit for the financial year 2019-20 was Rs7.5 billion while in the financial year 2020-21, it is Rs 2.4 billion and the financial condition of the company is improving in the financial year 2019, however, due to the COVID-19 only 30% of its operations have been reduced. “In addition, the ban on Hajj and Umrah has also caused significant damage to the national airlines,” he told the committee.

The PIA chairman said that out of 23 aircraft available with the PIA, 18 are operational while one aircraft has reached Pakistan on lease, another will come soon and four more aircraft will be leased by December.

Examining the audit paras related to the PIA, the audit officials told the committee that the PIA rented iPads for in-flight entertainment for business class customers, causing a loss of Rs 99 million. Senator Talha Mahmood asked why these iPads were taken on rent instead of being purchased. The PAC referred this matter to the FIA and sought a report.