ISLAMABAD, Jun 16 (APP): Against staggering amount of billions of rupees, eaten away in corruption and bank loan defaults, National Accountability Bureau has recovered over Rs 217 billion by the end of last calendar year, depositing it to national kitty. Putting its foot down, National Accountability Bureau effectively investigated and prosecuted thousands of cases involving offences of corruption and corrupt practices committed by a holder of public office or a private person and recovered misappropriated money and assets whether located in Pakistan or stashed across the border.
Reticently focusing on mega cases of corruption and misappropriation of money sans any projection, National Accountability Bureau made accumulated recoveries of Rs 114.870 billion in Bank loan default, Rs 21.092 billion in VR and PB, Rs 9.210 billion in indirect recoveries, Rs 60.470 billion in Rescheduling and restructuring o bank loans and Rs 11.530 billion in court fines.
NAB, created under the NAO 1999 as the successor organization of Ehtesab Bureau, has the jurisdiction to initiate proceedings in matters where state money, government properties, funds of financial institutions or money belonging to the members of the public has been defaulted.
The word `Corruption' has its origin in Latin verb `corruptus' meaning to break. Literally, it means a broken object and conceptually, corruption is a form of behaviour which departs from ethics, morality, tradition, law and civic virtue.
The menace of corruption has links to a multitude of vices. Its roots are linked to injustice, mistrust, suspicion, extremism and terrorist activities. The twin menace of corruption and poverty are closely interlined. A surge in one menace has a direct bearing on the other. The ultimate victim of corruption and poverty is the human dignity itself.
An anti-corruption agency in Pakistan, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is responsible to effectively investigate and prosecute cases involving offenses of corruption and corrupt practices, committed by a holder of public office or a private person while ensuring that misappropriated money and assets are recovered.
Keeping in view the objective to serve public and root out the menace of corruption, NAB received 13,722 complaints during the year 2006 making a total of 17,027 complaints including the backlog.
According to the official sources, out of these 14,255 (83.5%) complaints were processed and 2802 (16.5%) are under process. As many as 3383 complaints were received to NAB Punjab, 677 to NAB Headquarters, 4506 to Sindh, 2433 to NWFP, 616 to Balochistan and 2107 to Rawalpindi.
A complaint is converted into inquiry after its verification. High priority is given to the cases involving interest of the public at large and where corruption in excess of Rs. 100 million is detected.
During the year 2006, 728 fresh inquires were authorized by the NAB, thus raising the figure to 1882 (including the backlog). Out of this number, 890 (47%) were finalized leading to the closure and formal investigation of cases whereas 992 (53%) inquires are still under process.
The investigation stage plays an important role in the accountability process by setting a pace for prosecution. During the year 2006, NAB authorized 292 new investigations, thus making a total of 701 investigations including the backlog.
Out of this number , 241 (34.4%) investigations were finalized while remaining 460 (65.6%) are under progress. There have been 75 cases of Plea Bargain and Voluntary Return during the year 2006 as a result of which an amount of Rs. 1398.064 million has been agreed for payment by the accused, out of which Rs. 930.658 million have already been recovered.
The sources said that NAB has placed 184 accused persons on Exit Control List (ECL) through Ministry of Interior during 2006 putting the number of total persons on ECL as on December 31, 2006 to 654.
Out of these 184 persons, 68 are government servants, eight are politicians, five from Ex-Armed Forces and 103 were businessmen and others.
Out of 654 persons of ECL till December 31, 2006, 286 are government servants, 32 are politicians, six from Ex-Armed Forces and 330 are Businessmen and others.
NAB has issued warrants of 165 accused persons during the year under review out of which 123 were arrested while other 42 accused are still at large. Combined with the number of persons at large of the previous years, the total comes to 345.
Cooperative scam is the biggest scam in our history. In gross violation of cooperative acts and banking laws, over 100 cooperative societies operating between 1978 to 1990, deprived more than 250,000 depositors of their 1300 million rupees (the deposited amount).
The President General Pervez Musharraf entrusted the task to NAB in December 2000 to recover the looted money from the culprits. NAB Punjab not only got the culprits punished severely, but also recovered about 6000 million rupees from these looters.
It is for the first time in the history of Pakistan that cheaters have been punished severely and most the looted money has been recovered and paid back to the majority of the affectees.
Most of the affectees have been paid as per approved policies and this process in now reaching its culmination stage. With the approval of National Anti Corruption strategy (NACS) in 2002, two new functions of awareness and prevention were also entrusted to NAB in addition to enforcement.
Later, anti-corruption operations and economic Crime Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were transferred to NAB along with manpower, budget and workload.
With the merger, prosecution in the court of special judges is being conducted by special prosecutors appointed by the Chairman in exercise of powers delegated by the Federal Government.
On the recommendations of regional NABs, cases of mega corruption have been transferred to Accountability Courts and where necessary further investigation was authorized to supplement the cases with additional material evidence.
During the year 2006, NAB filed 188 references in the Accountability Courts, making a total of 478 cases including the cases already pending in the Trial Courts.
Increasing amounts are being realized every year on the account of recovery of corruption money and Rs. 930.658 million have been deposited in the government treasury this year.
An amount of Rs. 1.928 billion were total recovery in 2006 in the account of Bank loan default with total accumulated recovery of 114.870 billion.
Accumulated recoveries were Rs. 9.210 billion in the head of indirect recoveries in 2006 with Rs. 60.470 billion in the account of Rescheduling and restructuring of bank loans while accumulative recoveries in the head of court fines were 11.530 billion.
Corruption in government spending leads to serious reduction in impact of development programs but through the performance and the commitment of NAB, it can be hoped that expectations of public would be fulfilled and Pakistani society would be corruption-free at one stage.