ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau has lifted ban on private visits of the Bureau’s officers to foreign countries.

Last month in a statement issued by NAB said that “Chairman NAB Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal has imposed ban on private travelling of all NAB officers with immediate effect except performance of Umrah. Making of schedule for visit abroad and reservation of tickets has also been stopped without approval of ex-Pakistan leave by the competent authority. Chairman NAB has directed all DGs to ensure compliance with all directions in letter and spirit and any delinquency will be treated strictly as per law.” The NAB officers will not be allowed to go abroad for study purposes after new policy.

It was the first time in history of the NAB that the chairman had put a ban on private travelling of NAB officers and even several female NAB investigation officers whose families were settled abroad were also prohibited from travelling abroad.

The chairman NAB had faced severe criticism over his decision by staff and they had declared that it was a violation of fundamental human rights.

A senior officer of NAB appreciated the Chairman’s decisions and said that NAB officers were always busy in high profile corruption investigations and faced several kind of threats and no rest in their lives during course of investigations, therefore, they needed to go on vocations once in a year. He said that the new policy was volition of basic rights of government servants. He said some female investigation officers’ families were living abroad and they used to go over there every year and there was a lobby in NAB which always spoke against women investigation officers.

According to a notification, Chairman NAB has granted approval regarding 20 days leave ex-Pakistan with pay for private visit to Australia in respect of Ramesh Kumar officer of NAB Karachi.

Meanwhile, National Accountability Bureau once again summoned former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on February 19 for recording his statement in ‘illegal’ award of LNG tender to ETPL after he ignored earlier summon of the anti-corruption agency.

NAB had summoned the former PM on February 8 for recording his statement in LNG case but he did not appear before the investigation team last time.  

The NAB Rawalpindi issued a new summon to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on February 7, 2018, with the subject of call up notice to the person acquainted with the facts of the case U/S 1999, inquiry against authorities including Prime Minister, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, concerned secretary, management of Sui Southern Gas Company, Inter State Gas Systems, M/s Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited and others regarding illegal award of LNG tender to ETPL.

Well placed sources in NAB told The Nation that the Bureau has almost completed investigation in this case and recorded the statements of all people who were involved in awarding the LNG contact. They said former PM can face the music if he avoids joining NAB investigation team this time.  

The notice says: “Whereas, the competent authority has taken cognisance of an officer, committed by the subject accused persons under the provision of NAO 1999 on allegations of deceitfully, fraudulently and dishonestly causing loss to the national exchequer, misuse of authority and obtaining pecuniary advantage through corrupt, dishonest and illegal means during award of LNG Terminal-1. Whereas, the subject inquiry has revealed that you are in possession of information/evidence regarding award of LNG Terminal-1 to ETPL and import of LNG from Qatar which relates to the commissions of the said offence.”

It further says: “You are requested to appear on February 8 at National Accountability Bureau (Rawalpindi/Islamabad) Civic Centre before investigation team for discussion and recording your statement being minister for petroleum and natural resources, on LNG Terminal to ETPL, Tri-partial agreement, LSA with EETPL and LNG import from Qatar etc. You are advised that failing to comply with the notice may entail penal consequences as provided in serial 2 of the Schedule of NAO 1999.”