Home Global Village What should NAB do before it files new references?

What should NAB do before it files new references?


News Analysis |

In the latest development, the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) executive board has approved the filing of the first reference pertaining to the fake bank accounts and mega money laundering case on Tuesday.

A notification issued after a meeting chaired by NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal stated, “Approval was granted for the filing of a reference against Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed, chief executive officer Omni Group of companies, and others. The suspects are accused of fake bank accounts and illegally regularizing seven acres of official land. The suspects caused Rs1.422 billion loss to the national exchequer.”

The NAB is probing into cases pertaining to money laundering which not only caused financial malpractices but also a heavy loss to the national exchequer.

It also ruled that the NAB also failed to establish any relation between the petitioner and the owners of M/s Paragon City for which the initial contract of the housing scheme was allegedly cancelled.

The executive board also approved the filing of a reference against Ijaz Ahmed Khan, former secretary Special Initiative Department Sindh. The former secretary of Special Initiative Department is accused of misuse of power and favouritism in awarding supply scheme contracts, the notification read. The suspect caused a loss of Rs29.25 million to the national exchequer.

A reference against Ali Gohar Dahri and others has also been accorded approval. As per the notification, the suspects are accused of misuse of power and illegal appointments. The suspects caused a loss of Rs74.85 million to the national exchequer, it said.

Read more: Is NAB working independently?

Furthermore, the executive board granted approval for the filing of a reference against former CDA Planning Wing director general Ghulam Sarwar Sindhu and others. The suspects have been accused of corruption and misuse of power in allotting 4.5 acres of land for a shuttle bus service in the diplomatic enclave. This caused a loss of Rs408.32 million to the national exchequer, the notification upheld.

NAB’s Incompetence

It is pertinent to recall here that NAB has filed many references against many bigwigs in Pakistan but in most cases, it has failed to present any reliable evidence before the courts. Recently, the Lahore High Court (LHC) not only gave bail to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president but also pointed out that the NAB had failed to provide any convincing evidence against Mr. Sharif.

Millions of rupees of this nation are spent on NAB. Has it ever accomplished anything other than plea bargains? Let us know just one case where it has made a recovery.

A detailed verdict by the Lahore High Court on bail petitions Mr. Shahbaz Sharif in Ashiana Housing Scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills ruled that the allegations of misuse of authority and cancelling the first contract of the scheme against Mr. Sharif have not been supported by any documentary evidence produced by the NAB. It also ruled that the NAB also failed to establish any relation between the petitioner and the owners of M/s Paragon City for which the initial contract of the housing scheme was allegedly cancelled.

Last year the Supreme Court of Pakistan also grilled the NAB for its incompetence and unwillingness to pursue cases. According to details, a three-member bench of the apex court made the remarks after hearing a petition for bail filed by the Sindh Ministry of Information’s Section Officer, Sarang Latif. Justice Qazi Faez Isa remarked that “NAB’s conduct is not the same in every case.” He further pointed out that “In some cases, NAB goes the extra mile, but in others, it does not seem to care,” he added. “Why is NAB getting politicized?”

NAB is also notorious for its ill-thought proposal of plea bargaining. Justice Gulzar of the apex court also accused NAB of “colluding” with its targets and asked why it so often offers plea bargains. “NAB does not seem to want to do anything; it has put everyone in misery,” he said. “Millions of rupees of this nation are spent on NAB. Has it ever accomplished anything other than plea bargains? Let us know just one case where it has made a recovery.”

Read more: Is Parliament going to amend NAB laws?

Analysts opine that the NAB must prepare itself first before it decides to file a reference. References filed without proper deliberation are reportedly posing some serious threat to the integrity and credibility of the anti-corruption watchdog.

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