News Analysis |
In an interesting development, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has told its officers not to use mobile phones in the offices. The direction has reportedly come directly from the watchdog’s chairman. According to media reports, Justice (r) Javed Iqbal on Monday imposed a ban on the usage of mobile phones by its officers during work hours in order to ensure complete secrecy and effectiveness of officers towards the performance of their official duties.
It has also been added that the NAB officials are required to perform their duties while following all the official protocols of the organization. The wearing of NAB’s specially designed uniform by all NAB investigation officers of Grade 17 to Grade 18 has also been made mandatory during office hours. Biometric system installed at NAB Headquarters has also started working to ensure punctuality and attendance of all officials.
The 179 mega corruption cases were lodged against the industrialists, traders, senior bureaucrats, and prominent politicians.
Moreover, the NAB chairman also imposed a ban on receiving visitors at NAB Headquarters and in all regional bureaus during office hours. Only official visitors/guests could meet NAB officers in connection with their official works and assignments and entry and departure time will be properly maintained for official use. The complainants will meet the NAB chairman on last Thursday of every month.
The NAB and its chairman came under limelight after the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the NAB, to conclude all investigations into these mega cases by Dec 31, 2015, on July 7, 2015. The court also expressed displeasure over the cases pending for over a decade with no real progress. Later on, the NAB had sought an extension of three months. The SC, however, instructed to present a final report to the court by the termination of the requested extension on March 31, 2016.
As the new Chairman assumed the office, the prosecution division of the bureau was immediately ordered to finalize all 179 mega corruption investigations as soon as possible. It was revealed during a performance review meeting of NAB chaired by Justice Iqbal that investigations into 101 cases had been concluded, and references had been filed in the respective accountability courts, where the corruption cases would be adjudicated in accordance with the law.
Moreover, currently, the NAB is working on 19 inquiries and 23 investigations, while 36 cases have already been disposed of. The 179 mega corruption cases were lodged against the industrialists, traders, senior bureaucrats, and prominent politicians. Interestingly, 22 cases are related to financial corruption, 27 to housing societies and 71 pertained to corruption and misuse of authority by high-ranking public officials.
Since the watchdog is now working independently and probing into various high profile cases, it is pivotal for its officers to work in accordance with the rules prescribed as their code of conduct. Opposition parties are at the front to grill NAB for initiating inquires again the powerful people. Therefore, the direction of the NAB chairman to keep his officers vigilant and active is a welcome move.