ISLAMABAD - Chairman National Accountability Bureau Justice (R) Javed Iqbal claimed on Thursday that whenever the Bureau initiated investigation against any member of the government, it faced budget cuts as a reaction. 

Addressing a seminar titled ‘Corruption an impediment in economic development; official authority a sacred public responsibility’, he said that taking mega corruption cases to logical end was the foremost priority of the NAB. He said that he would not allow anyone to criticise the NAB performance.

He said that NAB had filed 105 references from out of 179 corruption cases. Furthermore, 19 corruption cases were being investigated while 15 cases were at inquiry stage. The cases are being pursued as per the law, he said.

The NAB chief said the accountability watchdog dealt mega corruption cases and corruption cases of comparatively less magnitude were being dealt by respective anti-corruption establishments. Right now, 1,210 corruption references of Rs900 billion are in various accountability courts, he said, adding that NAB had fixed a time frame of 10 months to conclude the corruption cases on scientific basis and in light of the prevalent laws. No other corruption dealing institutions have ever fixed timeframe for concluding corruption cases, he added.

He said that NAB had apprehended 503 persons during the last one year on corruption charges and verified 1,713 complaints. NAB also approved conducting 877 inquiries, 227 investigations besides filing 440 corruption references in different accountability courts which is record as no matching performance of NAB could be found in just one year’s period.

The chairman said that the NAB was conducting investigations of ‘mudarba/musharka’ cases on priority basis. NAB has so far arrested 34 accused in mudarba and musharka scams and has decided to bring back the wanted absconders through Interpol.

NAB has already filed a corruption reference in accountability court, Islamabad against Mufti Ehsan in mudarba case. The court had awarded 10 years imprisonment and Rs9 billion worth of fine to the Mifti while 9 co-accused were slapped with Rs1 billion worth of fine. NAB won the case against Mufti Ehsan owing excellent teamwork. The recovered amount of Rs10 billion will be returned soon to the affected people, he said.

He said that corruption ruined any country’s economy which ultimately hindered the country’s progress. NAB is doing sincere efforts to eradicate corruption from society and the country. NAB firmly believes in ensuring corruption free Pakistan, he said.

Brushing aside the impression of hindering economic activities, chairman said that the NAB had already established a dedicated cell to resolve the issues of business community.

He directed early conclusion of ongoing investigations against illegal housing societies/cooperative schemes and recovery of looted money as early as possible. He said that NAB was taking measures to fix the corrupt without any discrimination and eliminating the menace of corruption.