The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has completed about 6,300 inquiries over the past 16 years, 56 per cent of which matured into a formal investigation and more than 80pc investigations were taken into the stage of prosecution in courts.
Of the 1,762 decided cases, 889 ended in conviction with 51pc conviction rate which speaks for itself, according to a document released by NAB on Monday.
It lists measures adopted by NAB’s current management and achievement made so far to eradicate corruption and says the prime focus of the accountability watchdog is on the cases of cheating public at large through fraudulent financial companies, bank frauds, wilful bank loan defaults, misuse of authority and embezzlement of funds by government officials.
According to it, NAB received about 309,000 complaints from individuals and private/public organisations over the past 16 years.
Corruption is the mother of all evils which undermines development and deprives people of their rights. Considering this, NAB was established as the country’s apex anti-corruption organisation tasked with the elimination of corruption through a holistic approach to awareness, prevention and enforcement.
NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry has chalked out a comprehensive national anti-corruption strategy under which the bureau has adopted a proactive approach to curb corruption and corrupt practices.
The document says since NAB came into being, one of its major achievements has been the recovery of around Rs275.4 billion of ill-gotten money, which has been deposited in national exchequer.
The comparative figures for the past two years are indicative of the hard work being put in by NAB staff in an atmosphere of renewed energy and dynamism.
An increase in the number of complaints reflects enhanced public trusted in NAB.
According to the paper, Pildat in a recent report supports the position stated above as 42pc of people questioned expressed trust in NAB against 30pc showing trust in police and 29pc in government officials.
A recent report from the Transparency International has lowered Pakistan’s rating in Corruption Perception Index from 126 to 117 which is a great achievement.
To create awareness against ill effects of corruption among youth, the document says, NAB in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission has established over 10, 000 character building societies in universities, colleges and schools over the past year.
Besides, NAB has introduced a quantified grading system within the organisation to review and improve the performance of its officials.
Under the system, NAB’s regional bureaus are being evaluated on given criteria on an annual basis.
With improved infrastructure and rationalised workload, 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 an accountability court.
To ensure uniformity and standardisation, the document says, the standard operating procedures for investigation officers have been reviewed and revised after a gap of 10 years
The implementation of enforcement measures and prosecution matters is being monitored in NAB through daily, weekly and monthly reports and inspections.
NAB has also introduced an internal accountability mechanism. Inefficient, unscrupulous and delinquent officers are being weeded out and proceeded against under law.
The bureau has initiated disciplinary proceedings against 83 officials over the past two and half years, of which 60 cases have been finalised with 22 major penalties, 34 minor penalties, and exoneration of four accused.
The bureau has also set up an integrity management cell in its headquarters.
It has established its first forensic laboratory in the Rawalpindi/Islamabad bureau which has the facilities of digital forensics and fingerprint analysis.
NAB intends to establish an anti-corruption academy in Islamabad for capacity building of its officials.
The bureau hopes that joint efforts 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 the country, the document says.