ISLAMABAD -  The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has set a new date for completion of ongoing investigations into 179 mega corruption scams.

According to documents available with The Nation, the NAB has extended the date for completing investigations into the mega scams for the sixth time and has set March 31 as the deadline. 

Cases against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Chaudhary Shujat Hussain, Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi, former president Asif Ali Zardari, other politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats were pending since 2000. These cases had been filed by the NAB in the first year of former president Pervez Musharaf’s tenure.  

Nawaz and Shahbaz were facing two NAB cases including illegal appointment in the Federal Investigation Agency and misappropriation of Rs125.66 million in the construction of a road from Raiwind to Sharif family house.

Chaudhary Shujaat and Chaudhary Elahi are facing a case of assets beyond means involving Rs2.428 billion.

Former president Zardari is also facing probes for corruption of billions of rupees and having assets beyond resources. Corruption cases of former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani are also pending with the NAB.  On July 7, 2015, the NAB submitted a list of mega corruption scams to The Supreme Court, with a pledge that investigations into the pending cases would be completed in the second month of 2016. The anti-corruption watchdog, however, could not complete the investigation despite a lapse of one-and-a-half-year after it gave assurance to the court.

Sources told The Nation that the NAB headquarters has asked all regional bureaus to submit details of all mega corruption cases and send their reports to head office. The NAB sources said that the delay in pursuing the pending cases was mainly due to the top management’s busy engagement in other court cases.

The NAB may also not be able to meet the new deadline for closing the high-profile corruption cases, the sources said.

NAB spokesperson Asim Ali Nawazish told The Nation that the NAB was taking action on the pending cases across the board. He said that the NAB has adopted a transparent process and it reviews the progress on the 179 mega scams after every three-month and work was under progress.