LAHORE - At a time when the Rangers and NAB are tightening the noose on ruling party’s corrupt leaders and bureaucrats in Sindh, a senior official of NAB has disclosed that some inquiries were also going on against some important people in Punjab. However, he preferred not to identify those under bureau’s microscope at this stage.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Punjab Director General Syed Burhan Ali, in an exclusive interview with The Nation on Tuesday, said that there was deep rooted corruption in Punjab too which was basic reason of bad governance . Corruption has become part of public psyche and permeated deep into the attitudes of the people; so, it will take time to root it out from the society, he added.

“Though political leadership of Punjab is trying to eliminate corruption, steps taken in this regard are not insufficient,” the DG said. He was of the view that computerisation of land record in the province was a step in right direction but it has not yielded desired results.

Burhan Ali said corruption has affected almost all the sectors of public and national life like education, health, social development, infrastructure development and economic and finance structures. He said that nowhere in the province the overall system was working properly since corruption was everywhere and no organisation in Punjab was corruption free.

“We are receiving complaints in good number against officials of power distribution companies wherein consumer is asked to deposit bills in advance”. Officials are committing overbilling and consumers are told that their amounts would be refunded to them on later stage, he added.

To a question about the performance of NAB Punjab, Syed Burhan said, “There are some high profile cases NAB is working on but since these are at inquiry stage so it will not be appropriate to publish them in press.” Most of these cases are about bank fraud, cheating public at large, misuse of authority, and irregularities in power sector and housing authority.

When asked if there was any inquiry against brother of Gen (r) Ashfaq Pervez Kiayni, Major (r) Burhan Ali said though an inquiry was there against DHA City wherein 10,000 peoples were defrauded but Kiayni’s brother was not directly involved in it. He was only among the beneficiaries of the case.

He was of the view that the case was of very critical nature since in this case an amount of Rs16 billion was involved and NAB cannot ignore it. However the DG said that the case was in court due to which he was not in position to go into its details. A double bench of Lahore High Court would hear the case on today (Wednesday).

NAB DG said that corruption in Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was being committed very tactfully due to which big fish were not being held. He was of the view that existing FBR laws support senior officers and only the subordinate stay responsible for any embezzlement or corruption. However, NAB started an inquiry against a former FBR chairman in the recent past.

Mr Burhan said that NAB chairman was very keen about the performance of the bureau and he has directed all the provincial heads of NAB to finalise cases by the end of this month. He said that after June 30, there would be no case of 2014 pending with NAB Punjab and they would be working on cases registered in the ongoing year.

Talking about the accountability within the bureau, the DG said that several officers of NAB were punished for being involved in malpractices or misuse of authority. He said that three layers monitoring system was in place in NAB to keep check and balance on the staff. No NAB investigation officer was authorised to meet any accused in isolation, if he does so by chance, he is duty bound to submit detailed report of the meeting to NAB office the very next day.

Combine Investigation Team (CIT) comprising five officers examines accused in specific investigation room, the DG informed. Reorientation of NAB was being done and in future, agony of the people or quantum of amount would be gauged before initiation of any case, he said.

A NAB spokesman informed on Tuesday that NAB Punjab has arrested two persons allegedly involved in preparation of fake documents and files of plots with connivance of LDA staff. He said that Abdul Hameed, a resident of Ferozwala, complained to NAB about the issue and an inquiry was initiated. Zubair Aziz Khawaja was arrested after charges proved true. On basis of information obtained from Zubair, Muhammad Fiaz was also arrested, the spokesman said. It was yet to be established that which LDA officials were conniving with the accused.

Apart from this, NAB Punjab DG distributed four pay orders amounting to Rs17.123 million among financial institutes on Tuesday at NAB DG Office Thokar Niaz Beg here. The NAB spokesman said that the amount was recovered through Voluntary Return from different accused. National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) was given Rs7,954,000, Punjab Cooperative Board of Liquidation (PCBL) Rs4,500,000, United Bank Limited (UBL) Rs2,627,778 and Bank of Punjab (BoP) Rs2,041,690. Representatives of all institutes were present at NAB office and pay orders were handed to them by the DG in a simple ceremony.