ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau pre-executive board meeting will be held today to discuss corruption cases against federal Urdu university officials and ex-officials of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, The Nation has learnt.

NAB Deputy Chairman Imtiaz Tajwar will chair the meeting at the bureau’s headquarters while directors of two regional bureaus will also attend the meeting. The NAB will also review the status of corruption cases which were under investigation in Karachi as well as Rawalpindi bureaus.

Well-placed sources said that the pre-EBM is likely to recommend to the NAB chairman to file corruption references against Dr Zafar Iqbal, the former vice-chancellor and officials of Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science Technology (FUUAST) and a corruption case against Farooq Ahmed Awan, ex-secretary Ministry of  Information Technology, Riaz Asher Siddique, ex-CEO Universal Service Fund (USF), Imran Akhtar, CEO MIDAS and others regarding the misuse of authority in giving illegal benefits to M/s Midas (State Vs Farooq Ahmed Awan and others ).

The NAB EBM had decided to authorize three investigations. The first investigation was authorized against Dr Zafar Iqbal, ex-vice-chancellor and the management of the FUUAST, sub-campus Lahore. In this case, the accused were charged with misusing the authority, obtaining pecuniary advantages through corrupt and dishonest means, opening an illegal sub-campus of the FUUAST in Lahore.

In 2012, the media reported that the IT ministry had allegedly misused Rs120 million of USF money for a media campaign. In this regard, some members of the USF board also wrote to the NAB, asking it to start an investigation.  NAB sources said that the bureau took action on the complaint of members of USF board and has probed the case.

NAB committed to recovering looted money: Javed

National Accountability Bureau Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal has said Pakistan owes 84 billion US dollars in foreign debt and the anti-graft body was committed to recovering looted money from the corrupt by pursuing a zero-tolerance policy.

Addressing officers of the bureau, the NAB chief said that “now a change would be visible in working of the anti-graft watchdog”.

“The aim of the NAB is not to take revenge from any province, party or individual, it believes in forcing the corrupt to stand in the dock and depositing the looted money to the national exchequer. The NAB would provide sufficient evidence against the corrupt to enable the courts to convict them,” he said.

Justice (retd) Iqbal said that the NAB has filed 96 mega corruption cases out of a total of 179 cases in courts. “Inquiries are underway in 25 mega corruption cases while investigations are continued in other 25 corruption cases,” he said.

The NAB chairman directed all regional bureaus to submit reports on mega corruption cases within three months.

He said that he has decided to evaluate the performance of regional NAB offices. He directed NAB officials to file cases in courts after collecting sufficient evidence along with relevant details of each case. He warned that the police station culture in NAB would not be tolerated. “Now onwards, the NAB would take care of self-respect of everyone as the law prohibits the NAB from the wrong use of its laws. The whole nation pins high hopes on the NAB for the elimination of corruption. NAB officers must adhere to the law as our affiliation is only with the country,” he said.

Justice (retd) Iqbal said that the NAB will have to take mega corruption cases and white collar crimes to the logical conclusion. “The NAB officers have been given the training to enable them to meet present day’s challenges.  The NAB has established a forensic laboratory in Islamabad. Corrupt and inept officers have no place in the NAB. Honesty, efficiency and professional competence would be encouraged in the bureau,” he said. The Nab chief said that he himself will look after seniority, appointments and promotion cases of all NAB officers as per the law.

Meanwhile, NAB Rawalpindi arrested Naeem Shakir, Director of M/s Stock Street (Pvt) Ltd accused in a Rs134.34 million corruption case and cheating the public at large under the pretext of sale and purchase of shares in the stock exchange.

The SECP had referred the matter to the NAB with the allegation that various complaints have been received against M/s Stock Street (Pvt) Ltd that the company has defrauded the public at large and misappropriated their hard earned money.  During proceedings in NAB, it revealed that Naeem Shakir, being Director of M/s Stock Street (Pvt) Ltd, received more than Rs134.34 million from the public in the name of investment in securities. So far complaints of 130 claimants have been received with a total claim of Rs134.34 million, the NAB said.

The NAB said that sufficient incriminating material was available on record that Naeem Shakir in connivance with his other partners defrauded the innocent people by luring them for huge profit against their investment and involvement in criminal breach of trust by cheating the public at large and received huge deposits from the public for buying shares which were sold in market without the consent of the affected.

The accused was produced before the accountability court and it granted seven days physical remand.