ISLAMABAD - National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in its first phase of action against the power defaulters has so far recovered around Rs 220 million out of the total Rs 110 billion defaulted amount, official sources Friday informed TheNation.

As the NAB’s first deadline to pay the outstanding electricity bills voluntarily expired on Thursday (April 4), the bureau on Friday made the names of the power defaulters public and announced to proceed further on the action initiated earlier.

However, the bureau only released the data of power defaulters of Balochistan, Sukkur Electric Supply Company and of Islamabad as well Rarwalpindi region. NAB spokesman Ramzan Sajid said that the bureau was compiling data of power defaulters received from different power distribution companies. “As the process of compilation was lengthy one, so we will make public all the power defaulters soon after its completion,” he added. He also said that after the compilation of total data, the total amount recovered and the pending amount from power defaulters would be mad public. He viewed that the bureau’s direction to Water and Power Ministry for power disconnection of bills defaulters would also make the recovery process more effective and quick.

The NAB had initiated proceedings on March 18 on the offence of default in payment of government dues (Electricity bills) under the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.

The bureau had floated a public notice to this effect through newspapers advertisement on March 21. The defaulters were asked to pay their dues by April 04, 2013 and obtain clearance from NAB after production of challan along with latest paid bills. The defaulters were warned that names of those defaulters who would fail to comply by April 04 would be forwarded to print as well as electronic media.

The NAB spokesman said that the bureau, in the second phase, would initiate criminal proceedings against defaulters leading to arrest and prosecution who would fail to clear their dues by April 19. No further extension will be granted for voluntary return of the defaulted amount.

He said that the lists of defaulters received from some regions were being forwarded for the public consumption and the lists of remaining stations were being compiled and would be forwarded as completed. On another issue, the spokesman said that in order to facilitate the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in conducting a fair and free election 2013, NAB was providing the information sought by the ECP regarding different candidates as forwarded to the bureau.  NAB so far returned record of 16,526 candidates to the ECP after scrutinizing, out of the 19,400 received till Friday.

“NAB is neither mandated to object the candidature of any one nor has it raised any objection in this regard in the information provided to the ECP,” he added.  He said that the perception voice in the media that the NAB was trying to malign some politicians was not based on facts and well founded.  NAB is not mandated to determine the eligibility of the candidates, which is the sole determination of the ECP. NAB has just provided the record as it stands today regarding the candidates, he also said.