ISLAMABAD  - Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Qamar Zaman Chaudhry has directed the regional NABs and relevant wings of the bureau to work closely with government departments to strengthen the weak regulatory mechanism of the country and help them establish built-in system of check and balances and accountability to eradicate the corruption.“Prevention committees formed by NAB should assist, advise and guide the regulators in their efforts towards bringing good governance through internal controls and accountability,” said the chairman while talking to the senior officers during an interactive session on awareness and prevention of corruption here at NAB headquarters. He said that corruption in government spending has a negative impact on development programmes and results in perpetual increase in cost of creation and maintenance of public assets. He maintained that all the efforts towards development and good governance are left meaningless if the menace of corruption is not tackled properly. He said that the menace of corruption has links to a multitude of vices. It leads to injustice, mistrust, suspicion and extremism. The twin menace of corruption and poverty are closely interlinked; a surge in one has a direct bearing on the other.Qamar Zaman Chaudhry said that NAB has been striving to eliminate corruption through a holistic and integrated approach. Irrespective of their status and social standing, the NAB has prosecuted the corrupt and has recovered more than Rs 260 billion of looted public money so far. He emphasised that the corruption is too complex a phenomenon to be controlled with the enforcement strategy alone. Controlling corruption on a sustainable and long-term basis requires a broader vision and multi-faceted strategy, which banks heavily on awareness and prevention of corruption in addition to the old enforcement approach. He said that this prevention and awareness process when synergies with enforcement will ensure that, the work pressure of judicial institutions pertaining to procurements and contracts abuses is substantially reduced and corruption is ultimately curbed.“We have started a process of reforms to energise the existing accountability system to improve the efficiency in all spheres of NAB’s working from awareness and prevention to enforcement and prosecution,” he said, adding that special focus will be given to awareness and prevention activities to spread the massage against corruption. The NGOs, media and corporate sector will be involved in developing awareness and publicity material. Character building societies (CBS) are being set up across the country to build an edifice against corruption.He directed that NAB must accord high priority to cases of cheating public at large and it is a serious offence under NAO. Many financial scams involving plundering of common man’s hard earned income and savings are being pursued by NAB, with the goal to recover the looted money and return the same to the rightful owners. NAB has undertaken concerted efforts to prosecute the masterminds of such public frauds. “The NAB is essentially a complaint driven organisation. An exhaustive system of cognisance of cases has been formulated to standardise the selection of cases for processing. Priority is assigned keeping in view the case nature, the amount of money involved, the social impact and the number of affectees,” he said while directing the officers to ensure the recovery of the looted money from the swindlers.The chairman asserted that NAB alone could not fight this war against corruption. It is a collective social responsibility. He called upon the intelligentsia and media to play a proactive role in to wipe out corruption from the sacred soil of our country. He expressed the hope that stakeholders will hold the principle of ‘zero-tolerance’ to corruption as only a team effort and concerted approach will help fight the challenge of corruption in Pakistan.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 23-Jun-2014 here.