ISLAMABAD - The forensic lab of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), inaugurated by its chairman, Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, in September last year, could not be made functional owing to the alleged negligence of the officials concerned, The Nation has learnt.

At the time of the lab’s inauguration, Qamar Zaman Chaudhry had claimed in his address that its main purpose was to equip NAB with the latest technology to cater to its emerging needs for eliminating the menace of corruption from the society. The chairman directed the DG (T&R) to provide state-of-the-art training to the officers posted at the forensic lab. He had said that it would not only meet the Bureau’s own requirements, but also would be referred to as one of the authentic forensic labs of the country.

The NAB chairman had said that with its activation, the investigation officers of the NAB would probe corruption cases in different ways to be able to get quick results.

“The establishment of the forensic lab will help in retrieving documents from electronic devices like cell phones, computers, iPads, networks and their preservation, to determine authorship of questioned hand writings, identity of questioned typescripts and printed documents,” he had said in his address.

Well-placed sources informed this scribe that owing to lack of interest in the activation of the lab on the part of former DG (training and research), the NAB still depends upon the Punjab and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) forensic labs.

“The NAB is paying heavy amounts to FIA and Punjab forensic labs for utilising their services,” they said and added the IOs were facing insult before the courts because of receiving reports from those labs in high-profile cases. They said NAB could not arrange any session of training of its IOs in this regard since its inauguration though the forensic Lab had been set up as per international standards to meet all basic requirements. The Bureau has faced the loss of millions of rupees owing to non-professional attitude of former DG Altaf Bowani and other officials who disobeyed the chairman’s instructions, the sources added.

Talking to The Nation, NAB Spokesman Asim Ali Nawazish said they had applied for an NOC from the Interior Division for the forensic lab activation. He added the lab required some sophisticated equipments which would be imported from Australia.