Chairman NAB for accountability across the board even if it costs his life

ISLAMABAD, May 19 (APP):Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Justice Javed Iqbal said the anti graft watchdog would make extraneous efforts to exclude country’s name from Grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by preventing money laundering.
Talking to media, he said the bureau would do utmost to improve country’s image which had been damaged badly by the money launderers, expressing resolve that such elements would not be spared rather punished at every cost.
He said NAB, which was apolitical organization and working to eradicate corruption from the country, would take the cases of money laundering to their logical conclusion sans bowing to any pressure.
The chairman said Bureau strongly believed in respect of people and never disgraced any individual.
Commenting on the allegations that NAB is intimidating the business community, he said the bureau never intervened into telegraphic transfers (TTs) of any businessman; however the bureau had the right to ask any person having assets beyond known sources of income especially from the public office holder.
Javed Iqbal said NAB was a people friendly institution and committed to protect the business community, for which it had set up special desks at all bureaus across the country within a period of 24 to 48 hours with a mandate to redress grievances of entrepreneurs.
He said NAB had already been directed to immediately address complaints of the business community; however no complaint had so far been received in this regard.
The chairman reiterated that the bureau had never harassed leading businessmen.
However, questions would have to be raised when a project worth Rs5000 is completed in Rs 500,000. NAB could not keep silence if billions of rupees were deposited in the account of a ‘Faloda wala’ (ice cream vendor), he added.
He said NAB and corruption could not go together, adding that Pakistan was a poor country and indebted $100 billion, the debts would have to be paid by the people of the country.
Questioning the corrupt is not a crime. Extraordinary foreign debts are a national crisis and people should make joint efforts to address the issue, he said adding NAB always welcomed constructive criticism.
The chairman NAB should not be blamed for country’s economic woes as over 59 percent people reposed confidence over NAB as per the Gallup survey. He said two leading businessmen of the country Arif Habib and Mian Mansha had appreciated NAB due to its performance in writing.
He said NAB had decided to avoid summoning businessmen. Only questionnaire would be sent to the suspects and on receiving unsatisfactory answer the suspects would be summoned.
Javed Iqbal said NAB had recovered and returned over Rs 2.5 billion of small investors after recovering from the looters.
Admitting some lapses in NAB, he said efforts were being made to remove the flaws identified to improve it working.
About allegations that NAB arrests suspects despite lack of evidence, he said Accountability Court granted remand to NAB after evaluating incriminating evidences.
He said NAB had concrete evidence against some suspects who already fled the country after smelling that the bureau had sufficient evidences against them.
The chairman said NAB was strengthening its prosecution team, regretting that NAB prosecutors were getting insufficient fee as compared to opponents who received fee in millions. NAB should not be blamed for delay in cases as only 25 judges were hearing 1,250 corruption references.
He said NAB was being blamed that bureaucracy had stopped working due to bureau’s harassment. He said himself visited across the country to remove apprehensions of public servants.
During the visit, the chairman said he had asked bureaucrats to work in accordance with law and nobody would question them, advising them to devise a mechanism of internal accountability within the department.
NAB would have to question a bureaucrat if millions of rupees are recovered from his home, he said urging the government to avoid giving top positions to suspects who were already on NAB radar.