NAB Recovers $2.33Bln From White Collar Crime Perpetrators

Accountability for all; recoveries and punishments from the corrupt involved in mega scams – NAB Chairman

PKONWEB — The country’s anti-graft watchdog has so far recovered a whopping Rs326 billion (US$2.33 billion) from the corrupt and deposited it into the national exchequer, Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal said on Monday.

The to-date recovery figure announced by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) head came on the heel of arrests earlier this month of several top-most politically exposed persons (PEPs), and more are expected according to sources.

The Bureau led by Justice Iqbal is following a 10-month process to file references against those accused of white collar crimes, as part of State’s grand strategy to eliminate the menace of corruption from the country and recover looted money from them as soon as possible.

While presiding over the Bureau’s Executive Board Meeting (EBM) in capital Islamabad, Chairman Iqbal reiterated his resolve to take mega corruption cases to their logical conclusions, saying it was top most priority of the bureau to pursue the policy of ”Accountability for All’.

Justice Iqbal said corruption was the main hurdle in progress and prosperity of the country, and bureau was utilizing all available resources to recover looted monies and punish the corrupt.

The government led by Premier Imran Khan which came to power 10 months back, had vowed its voters and supporters that it would conduct across-the-board accountability, recovery and punish those convicted of white collar crimes.

Last week, NAB arrested the Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) co-chairman and former president, Asif Ali Zardari, after the Islamabad High Court recalled his pre-arrest bail in a corruption case. Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur was also put under house arrest. And, CM Shehbaz’s son Hamza Shehbaz is in NAB custody for questionings.

Former premier Nawaz Sharif– top leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is in prison on corruption charges, and his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif (two-times CM Punjab) faces a long list of corruption charges and stands indicted along with his son Hamza in one of the cases.

Also, NAB on Monday arrested former National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) director general Syed Insaf Ahmad in an alleged mega-corruption case involving Rs300 billion payment to Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

The PTI-led government is under a lot of pressure to contain the mounting fiscal deficit which the ruling party blames on corruption, misgovernance, and the economic policies of the previous two governments led by PPP and PML-N.

“IK only needs a little financial support to weather the current storm.” said one senior analyst.

On Tuesday, PM Khan in a nationwide address said that “I’m making a high-powered inquiry commission with a one-point agenda: how did they raise the debt to Rs24,000 billion in 10 years?” He further declared that the “pressure [to stabilize the economy] has been relieved. Now I will go after them [the corrupt politicians].”

According to some observers, if PM Khan continued his policy of bringing accountability to the country’s political elite and politics, a lot can change for the country, which will have a positive impact on Pakistan’s economy in the long run.