LAHORE - One can easily gauge the height of investigation skill of the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Lahore Region’s officers with zero conviction rate of the cases they examined during the year 2013, well placed sources in ACE confided to The Nation on Monday.
They claimed that Lahore Region officers out of total 318 cases 136 referred to Senior Special Judge Anti Corruption Lahore while 182 cases referred to Special Judge Anti Corruption Lahore out of which not a single accused was convicted.
Apart from that ACE Regional office could not arrest even a single gazetted officer and only two grade 16 officers were arrested and interestingly 297 officials from grade 1 to 15 were arrested on different corruption charges. Out of 1425 Proclaimed Offenders (POs) ACE Regional office could arrest 24 POs.
Whereas ACE Punjab could only succeed to get 53 lower class officials punished out of 25133 applications against corruption during the year 2013.
ACE Punjab could only recover Rs 90 million from looted billions of rupees. As per sources ACE received 25133 applications against corruption out of which 24698 files were shelved after verification and proceedings started on only 435 applications.
In the correspondence period 2012 ACE received 10058 applications against corruption and inquiries were started out of which 9764 files were shelved and only proceedings were started on 294.
Overall Punjab the conviction rate also remained very poor due to poor performance of investigators of ACE and redundant laws of Anti-Corruption of 1947.
ACE Punjab arrested 121 POs and 2059 other accused out of whom 799 were freed by court due to lack of sufficient proofs and above said laws.
It is worth mentioning here that ACE also receives corruption applications forwarded by Chief Minister Punjab Secretariat, Chief Minister Inspection Team (CMIT), Provincial Ombudsman office, Chief Secretary, and Additional Chief Secretary office for further action but due to poor performance of IOs, accused were always freed by courts.
The one major source of corruption in ACE was employees union, since office bearers of the union always watch their financial interest in the office.
They indulge in the wrongdoings of the officers and get their share out of ill gotten money. Some times when any officer refuses to fulfil their unlawful demand they blackmail him and protest against him.
A former Director ACE told this scribe that ACE employees union office bearers blackmail the officers to fulfil their illegal demands.
He said that they have hired private people who roam outside Region Office to trap visitors and to provide relief illegal relief in their cases and inquiries through union office bearers.