18 August 2019
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is an autonomous and constitutionally established anti-corruption agency in Pakistan. It is headed by Justice Javed Iqbal as its chairman. Pakistan’s parliamentary committee that monitors corruption cases has criticized The NAB for its unwillingness to prosecute former Army officers involved in corruption scandals.
The NAB has been criticized by the Supreme Court for mismanagement. Justice Jawad S. Khawaja of the Supreme Court criticized the institution’s plea bargain practice under which the agency negotiates an out-of-court settlement and the suspect is made to sign a confession and deposit funds of an amount determined by NAB. The suspect goes free after that. The judge also said that some NAB officials warn influential suspects before arrest to allow them sufficient time to escape.
The NAB has so far recovered $2 billion from the corrupt elements and deposited into the national exchequer, said Justice Jawad, in a high-profile meeting at the NAB Headquarters yesterday. He said that the Supreme Court handed over investigations of Panama Papers, 56 Punjab Public Limited companies, 435 offshore companies and fake accounts case to NAB.
NAB apprehended 640 culprits and files 610 corruption references relating to the cases given by the Supreme Court. Right now, 1,210 references involving corruption of $5.6 billion are at different stages of hearing at various accountability courts, he revealed, and added that NAB has so far received over 408,431 applications, authorized 14,069 complaint verifications, 9,400 inquiries, 4,122 investigations besides arresting 3,813 persons and filing 3,488 corruption references in different accountability courts.