By Faisal Khan
Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines development and rule of law. Corruption affects country just like a cancer. Considering these facts National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was established in 1999 as Pakistan’s apex anti-corruption organization which is assigned with the responsibility of elimination of corruption through a holistic approach of awareness, prevention and enforcement. It operates under the National Accountability Ordinance-1999 which is extended to whole of Pakistan including FATA and Gilgit Baltistan. NAB has its Headquarters in Islamabad while it has eight regional offices.
NAB under the leadership of Mr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, Chairman NAB had chalked out a comprehensive National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) for eradication of corruption and corrupt practices throughout the country. NAB works according to National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999, which empowers it to act against those who are involved in the corruption and corrupt practices.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has recovered approximately Rs. 266 billion since its inception and deposited in national exchequer. The hard work being put in by all ranks of NAB staff in an atmosphere of renewed energy and dynamism, where fight against corruption is being taken as a national duty. Increase in the number of complaints also reflects enhanced public trusted in the NAB. The PILDAT report also supports the position stated above as 42% people trusted NAB against other related government departments.
The recent reports of Transparency International also rated Pakistan in Corruption Perception Index (CPI) from 126 to 117 which is a great achievement for Pakistan due to NAB’s efforts.
To create Awareness against the ill effects of corruption among the youth of Pakistan, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in collaboration with Higher Education Commission (HEC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Over 10000 Character Building Societies (CBSs) have been established by NAB in universities, colleges and schools to create awareness against corruption as youths are considered a vanguard in this fight.
NAB has also filed 22 references in the Rs 22 billion Modarba Scam and recovered Rs. I billion and 73 Crore from Modaraba Scam besides properties and vehicles. NAB so far 33 accused persons have been arrested.
On the directions of Chairman NAB, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has already been devised to rationalize the workload and timelines have been prescribed for efficient, effective and expeditious disposal of cases putting a maximum limit of 10 months- from complaint verification-to-inquiry-to-investigation and finally to a reference in the Accountability Court. In order to ensure uniformity and standardization, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in vogue were revised after a gap of 10 years to make these responsive to the needs of changed economic, social and technological realities along with goals and targets for smooth conduct of operational activities in accordance with Law and to bring further improvements in the performance of NAB Regional Bureaus.
The Regional Bureaus under Party Quantified Grading System are being evaluated at a given criteria 80% will be considered “Outstanding/Excellent”, marks between 60% to 79% will be considered as “Very Good”, marks between 40% to 49% will be considered as “Good”, while marks less than 40% will be considered as “Below Average”.
NAB has decided to give priority to corruption cases i.e.; normal cases from Rs. 100-200 million, Complex Cases from Rs. 500-1000 million and Mega Cases Rs. 1000 million and above for mega cases.
NAB has developed Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) System catering the needs of all concerned having salient features of maintenance of data at each stage including complaint entry, complaint verification, inquiry, investigation, prosecution stage and record preservation of Regional Board Meetings and Executive Board Meetings including case brief, decisions made and list of participants attended the meeting with time & date and setting up of an effective Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) System and ability to analyze data in qualitative and quantitative form having warnings and alarms system for violators.
NAB with improved infrastructure and rationalized workload, timelines have been prescribed for efficient, effective and expeditious disposal of case putting a maximum limit of 10 months- from complaint verification-to-inquiry-to investigation and finally to a reference in Accountability Court.
In order to ensure uniformity and standardization, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in vogue were revised after a gap of 10 years to make these responsive to the needs of changed economic, social and technological realities.
NAB has devised a centralized monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance with the SOP’s and prescribed timelines. The meeting reviewed the performance of NAB’s field formations and expressed satisfaction that the schedule and timelines were being observed. It also evaluated the efficacy of the concept of CIT and observed that the CIT had indeed improved the quality of investigations as well as the professional capacity of Investigation officers (IOs). The Internal Accountability Mechanism (IAM) recently devised will ensure quick and effective monitoring and evaluation of all levels of work force in NAB.
NAB has devised Internal Accountability Mechanism (IAM) within NAB with a view to weed out such elements that for reasons of inefficiency, misconduct, malpractice and violation of laid down SOPs/Rules and bring a bad name to the organization. Chairman NAB has directed Senior Member Chairman Inspection and Monitoring Team (CI&MT) to issue policy guidelines to all Regional Bureaus of NAB for implementation and application.
In line with Chairman NAB’s firm resolve and commitment to eradicate corruption and corrupt practices from the country, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) have decided created a Joint Task Force comprising of senior level officers of NAB and SECP in order to work expeditiously on the corruption cases referred by SECP to NAB. The Joint Task Force will inquire/investigate all corruption cases related to fraud, embezzlement, corrupt practices and cheating public at large by the sponsors, directors and management of brokerage houses of the stock exchanges referred by SECP on top priority basis with the intention to recover investor’s hard earned money which has been misappropriated for personal benefits of the sponsors and Directors of the Brokerage Houses. For greater cohesion in the professional work and the constitution of Joint Task Force at NAB Headquarters, 02 senior level officers/experts from SECP (one each from legal and operation side) and senior level officers of NAB from Financial Crimes Investigation Wing, Operation and Prosecution wings will be part of Joint Task Force.
NAB has established its first Forensic Science Lab (FSL) in NAB Rawalpindi/Islamabad. The Forensic Science Lab has facilities of Digital Forensics, Questioned Documents and Fingerprint Analysis. NAB has proposed establishment of Anti-Corruption Network of SAARC countries for collaborative efforts for eradication of corruption on the basis of best practices. NAB has proposed Ministry of Law and Justice that Whistle Blowing Protection Act is imperative for the country under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), legislation on Whistle Blowing is an obligation on Pakistan. The Prime Minister has approved Whistle Blower Protection Bill which will now be sent to Cabinet for further necessary action. On the directions of Chairman NAB, NAB’s newly recruited 110 Investigation Officers are being trained at Police Training College Sihala on modern lines. NAB has also plannedestablishment of NAB’s Anti-Corruption Academy at Islamabad for capacity building of NAB officers/Officials on the pattern of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy.
On the directions of Mr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, Chairman NAB, NAB has started Awareness and Prevention Campaign besides Enforcement drive to aware people about the ill effects of corruption and arrest corrupts, proclaimed offenders and absconders for taken to task as per law across the country. NAB is mandated to carry out Awareness and Prevention functions against corruption in pursuance of section 33C NAO 1999. Under its proactive approach, NAB has been engaging different Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations and civil society in fight against corruption. In this context following steps have been taken by NAB:-
NAB strongly believes in Zero Tolerance Policy against Corruption. NAB’s Anti-corruption campaign is carried widely for awareness and prevention of corruption besides Enforcement across the board. NAB hopes that joint efforts of all stakeholders can collaborate to check corruption and corrupt practices before happening with the help of all stakeholders, civil society, media and people at large and bring sustainable systematic changes to the governance structure of our country.
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The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
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