ISLAMABAD - The Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Thursday showed displeasure over the slow pace of inquiry by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) into the privatisation of Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB).

NAB Director General Zahir Shah informed the committee that due to Lahore High Court’s (LHC) restraining order against the inquiry, NAB had to put brakes on it. “NAB cannot go against the decision of the court,” he said categorically.

However, the committee members remained unsatisfied, and noted the country's anti-corruption watchdog was not interested in digging out anything in MCB's case. “The NAB chairman is not interested in the case," said Senator Saeed Ghani of PPP.

He further said that LHC had retrained the NAB from giving the final report, not from conducting the inquiry.

He went on to say that the Supreme Court had directed the NAB to complete the inquiry in four months, and to complete in before December 2015, which the NAB ignored. “The NAB should challenge the LHC's decision in the Supreme Court,” he proposed.

Committee Chairman Senator Saleem Mandviwalla alleged that NAB was using delaying tactics to save a specific person in the case. He said the committee could ask the Chairman Senate to give his ruling in the case, as NAB, Ministry of Finance and State Bank of Pakistan were not serious in investigation of the case.

Sharing details of the case with the committee, DG NAB said the Bureau had completed 75 percent investigation before LHC's restraining order. He added that NAB had also visited the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) headquarters in Karachi to get details of the previous investigation into the MCB's privatisation.

MCB’s privatisation goes back to 1991.

NAB had completed the investigations in 2002, which were initiated in 2000.

Later, the NAB sent the report to the State Bank of Pakistan in 2004.

Since then the issue remains dumped and the Bureau again launched the investigation in July 2015 on the directives of the Supreme Court.

The committee also directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to provide details of its letter to the Singapore authorities with respect to money transfer by Residentia Holding Company to London for the purchase of 'St James Hotel', or otherwise the committee would move a privilege motion against the Board.

The committee could not adopt the 'Corporate Rehabilitation Bill 2015' due to opposition by the committee members despite willingness of the committee chairman to adopt it. The chairman was compelled by the committee members, Mohisn Leghari, Mohsin Aziz and Saud Majeed, who wanted in-depth, comparative discussion on the law before adopting it.

"We do not want adoption of any law in haste," they opined.

A senior official of the Finance Ministry informed the committee that government intended to propose a new legislation for corporate rehabilitation,soon after the finance minister returns home.

However, Mandviwalla insisted the committee would not accept the government proposed law, if the government did not accept the law proposed by the committee. Now the committee will take up the proposed law in May 10’s meeting.