The Anti-Corruption Establishment officials said that the role of ACE against the politically influential corrupt officials and employees has become ineffective in Gujranwala Division.

They said that the ACE seems to be miserably failed in taking stern legal action against the corrupt officials owing to their strong political influence.

According to the ACE officials, it has registered corruption, fraud, funds embezzlement and misuse of departmental powers cases against 700 government officials and employees during January 1, 2014 to July 31, 2015 in Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin, Hafizabad and Gujranwala districts.

The ACE took nominal legal action against a few corrupt employees, having no political influence. While, most of these 700 corrupt government accused officials and employees despite being nominated in the FIRs were still working on their lucrative and attractive posts and seats as the ACE was still reluctant to take action against the accused.

The senior ACE officials added that the ACE Regional Directorate Gujranwala had also sent to ACE Provincial Headquarters Lahore several references against several corrupt government officials for recommending stern legal action against them, but there was no implementation of these references.

The accused government officials belong to police, revenue, education, food, health, labour, forests, excise and taxation departments, district governments, TMAs, cooperatives, transport, WASA and other sectors as well. The accused are enjoying their complete political influence while still working on their attractive seats despite being implicated in corruption cases registered by ACE in Gujranwala Division.

ACE LINKS PROSPERITY TO OFFICIAL TRANSPARENCY: No nation could prosper without curbing corruption as it is the biggest evil of the society, said an official of the Anti-Corruption Establishment.

Therefore, he added, zero-tolerance policy was being observed against corrupt officers of the ACE and other government departments in Bahawalpur Region. “Strict action will be taken against corrupt elements of the society. There is acute shortage of staff in the Anti Corruption Department while they have been directed to investigate the complaints on merit without taking any pressure. As many as 1,864 complaints were disposed off in last 5 months after assuming the charge,” he said.

ACE Bahawalpur Region Director Ali Akbar Bhatti said that the purpose of the anti-corruption department is to stop corruption within the government departments thus it will take actions without any discrimination. No one is above the law and every corrupt element will be treated according to the rule of law, he said.

He said that corruption is such an evil as is becoming the reason for the spreading of other bad things in the society. He added that corruption takes nations towards the path of destruction. He revealed that five officials of ACE Bahawalpur Region had been repatriated to their parent departments on the complaints of bribe.

He added that ACE officers had been strictly directed to make decision on the basis of justice and merit and not to consider political or any other pressure.

He said, “When I assumed the charge, 620 complaints were pending and now only 34 complaints are pending with the department. 1,328 complaints were instated in the department in last 5 months. Out of total 1,948 complaints, 1,864 have been disposed of in the last 5 months.”

He said that there was acute shortage of staff in the establishment - three posts of deputy director investigation, 2 of assistant director investigation and 2 of assistant director technical.

Due to the paucity, department is suffering badly and more than 500 enquirers were pending due to non-availability of assistant director technical. He said I heard the complaints and tried to provide justice immediately. A committee consisted of the officers of ACE Bahawalpur takes action on the complaints filed with the department on daily bases, he claimed.

He said that every possible step was being taken to provide the justice. “For the purpose, I visit every District of my region for the redressal of the grievances of the poor. The media and the public have an important role to play for the elimination of corruption. They should come forward, and play their role to eliminate it from the society,” he said.