ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has refused to give briefing to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on work and performance of the Bureau, The Nation learnt on Saturday.

Well-placed sources informed this scribe that PM Office issued an order last week asking NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry to give a briefing to PM on ongoing investigations, NAB performance, filed references in accountability courts, under progress investigations, inquiries and recovered amount of Rs263 billion since 1999.

But NAB chairman showed reluctance to give the briefing with the pretext that the Bureau is an autonomous institution and investigating the cases of both the treasury and the opposition. If a briefing is given to the PM, it could cast an impression that the government is using NAB for its own agenda, it said. Furthermore, the opening of the Pandora’s box can cause an embarrassing situation for the government.

After presentation of this excuse, PM Office withdrew its office order and called off the briefing for the PM. The calling off the briefing has been conveyed to the NAB in black and white, sources said. When The Nation contacted NAB Spokesman Asim Ali Nawazish in this regard, he however said he was unaware about this kind of development or refusal to prime minister’s orders.

NAB is investigating several high-profile cases including those involving former prime ministers Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Oil and Gas Regularity Authority ex-chairman Tauqeer Sadiq and several leaders of different political parties.

As for NAB’s performance, until January 1, 2015, it received 4,289 complaints of which more than half of the complaints were registered in Madaraba scandal, in which some religious figures deprived the people of their hard-earned money in the name of Islamic investment. Other complaints received at the bureau were against different governmental departments including PWD, OGDCL, Ogra and Pemra, etc.

According to available official data, NAB received less than 1,000 complaints in 2013 due to lack of trust of people in its performance. The Bureau disposed of all the received complaints and sent them to regional headquarters for further decision to launch inquiry on the complaints or drop them. The NAB converted 337 complainants into Complaint Verification.

The Bureau closed 582 complaints which were fake and baseless deciding not to take further action on these complaints. It referred 554 complaints to NAB Rawalpindi and NAB headquarters for disposal. Only 27 complaints were referred by the NAB to relevant departments with instruction to investigate these complaints on institutional level and intimate the accountability body with final decision or action on these complaints.

Moreover, the NAB referred 39 complaints to relevant departments for departmental comments so it may decide if inquiry on these complaints was needed or not. As many as 3,495 registered complaints out of the 4,289 were linked with the previous complaints and not a single complaint is pending in NAB complaint branch presently. The most complaints registered by the common people in NAB were against bogus housing societies.