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Saturday, February 4, 2023

How much looted money has NAB recovered in last two years?

The NAB chairman says that the overall conviction rate of cases filed by the anti-corruption graft is 68.8% and it has recovered Rs 363 billion of looted money from corrupt individuals in the past two years. If it is true then why is the apex court repeatedly slamming NAB for being ineffective?

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Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal, has said that bringing white-collar crime and mega corruption cases to logical conclusion is the topmost priority of NAB.

While responding to how much looted money NAB recovered in the last two years, he said that NAB’s overall conviction rate is 68.8% and it has recovered Rs 363 billion of looted money from corrupt individuals in the past two years.

NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal said in his statement that corruption is the root cause of all evil. Operations, prosecution, training, research, and awareness sectors have been made more effective to further improve performance, he added.

He also said that in 2019, 53,643 complaints were received, of which 42,760 complaints were brought to the conclusion, while in 2018, out of 48,591 complaints 41,414 were dealt with.

In 2019, 1308 complaints were investigated, 1686 inquiries were conducted and 609 investigations were completed, resulting in a total conviction rate of 68.8%. He also said that since the establishment of the agency, more than Rs 466 billion has been recovered and deposited back in the national exchequer by NAB.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called out Pakistan to stop using the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as a tool for political witch-hunt, in the light of a recent Supreme Court decision, which termed the anti-graft agency’s conduct as a manifestation of “utter disregard to the law, fair play, equity and propriety”. The opposition parties have already demanded the government to abolish NAB.

Read More: NAB chief Javed Iqbal assures SC of swift progress in corruption cases

The former Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, said on 13th December 2018 that the NAB ordinance was against the Pakistani constitution, Islamic values, and our human rights commitments. “It was drawn up by a dictator and it should end”. The former Prime Minister made these statements while speaking to Doctor Moeed Pirzada on his prime-time show “Live with Moeed Pirzada” on GNN.

SC slams NAB in its latest judgment

In the detailed, 87-page ruling, penned by Justice Maqbool Baqar, the court highlighted severe lapses in the NAB’s due process and legal procedure, the definition and purpose of bail, and due processes in criminal cases. This judgment is the reason behind demanding to abolish the NAB.

The court noted about NAB, that its “conduct throughout this case is a clear manifestation of utter disregard for law, fair play, equity, and propriety”.

“In this country, it would be quite contrary to the concept of personal liberty enshrined in the Constitution that any person should be punished in respect of any matter, upon which, he has not been convicted or that in any circumstances, he should be deprived of his liberty upon only the belief that he will tamper with the witnesses if left at liberty, save in the most extraordinary circumstances.

Read More: NAB files a reference against Farzana Raja, Chairperson BISP

Justice Baqar further underlined that “all civilized societies recognize the principle that punishment comes only after conviction, and the presumption of innocence subsist with the accused, till he is handed down the punishment after trial”. “It hardly needs any reiteration that the detention either pre-trial or during trial causes great hardship,” the judgment added.

“See how much looted money did NAB recover; Nobody can dictate it”

In 2019, Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB, made it clear that the NAB law was not a black law. “Many Socrates and Platos have come to life who have never read the NAB law but still criticize and call it a black law,” said the NAB chairman. He then maintained that the people should look at how much looted money NAB has recovered.

While addressing the gathering, the chairman categorically rejected what he termed as “malicious propaganda” against the watchdog, while vowing to continue work according to the Constitution of Pakistan.

The NAB chairman said, “If NAB was a black law, the Supreme Court would have abolished it.” “This is a black law for those who are still involved in stealing,” the chairman stressed.

He said that he has always welcomed criticism, but it should be logical and conceivable. The NAB chairman warned that the accountability watchdog would act against those taking part in corruption. “If there wasn’t corruption, Pakistan would not need to take loans.”

Justice (Retd) Iqbal further said there was no person who could dictate NAB, adding there was propaganda being done against the bureau. “The time when corruption was overlooked has passed,” the NAB chairman warned. “If anyone commits corruption, then he/she will have to confront NAB.”

Read More: NAB collected new evidence against PPP’s Khursheed Shah?

Experts believe that the government should not abolish the NAB rather it needs to be thoroughly reformed in order to make it effective and in line with the basic values as prescribed in the constitution of Pakistan.