NAB officials told to vigorously pursue graft cases

ISLAMABAD: National Account­ability Bureau chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal has directed NAB officials to vigorously pursue corruption cases as its conviction rate has made a new record of 68.8 per cent. He issued the directive while evaluating the performance of the bureau’s prosecution wing during a meeting on Thursday. In another development, the anti-graft watchdog upgraded an investigation to reference against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Ijaz Jakhrani in a corruption case involving Rs311 million. “He [NAB chairman] directed all officers/officials of NAB to put in their best efforts in vigorous pursuance of under-trial cases of NAB with complete preparation on the basis of solid evidence in accordance with law,” said a press release issued by the NAB headquarters after the meeting. “Eradication of corruption is the top priority of NAB as the bureau is committed to eradication of corruption by adopting ‘accountability for all’ policy,” he added. Chairman says conviction rate at 68.8pc is a record; meeting reviews progress in many cases The meeting was apprised that the prosecution division of NAB was giving assistance to the operations division and all regional bureaus of NAB in the conduct of complaint verifications, inquires and investigations and was pleading cases vigorously on the basis of solid evidence in respected courts. It was informed that the prosecution division had been revamped by inducting experienced legal consultants/special prosecutors. “A mechanism of handling of witnesses has been introduced and the result of this intervention is very encouraging. Due to constant deliberations, monitoring and performance analysis of the prosecution division, the overall conviction ratio is approximately 68.8 per cent in the respected accountability courts which is record achievement,” the NAB chairman said. The meeting was informed that a court in Sukkur had announced judgement in a reference in which accused Tufail Ahmed and Waqar Ahmed were sentenced to 10 and eight years in prison, respectively. It was further apprised that an accountability court in Quetta had announced a judgement in a reference in which accused namely Babar Tehseen, Khalid Akram and Javed Akram were awarded 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs51.745m each. Similarly, an accountability court in Karachi announced a judgement in a reference in which accused Wajid Ali was sent behind bars for six years with a fine of Rs30m. He was found guilty on the basis of solid proof against him. An accountability court in Lahore in a judgement in reference Nos. 50/2014, 51/2014, 52/2014, 53/2014, 54/2014 awarded five-year rigorous imprisonment with fines of total liabilities in each case to principal accused Nazeer Ahmed Khan. The meeting was further informed that the accountability court in Karachi had announced a judgement in reference No. 16/2017 whereby accused — Shahid Raza Shah, Wahid Bux, Zaman Jokhio, Lal Mohammad, M. Afzal Hussain, M. Salik Nukhrich and Abdul Aziz were sentenced to 10 years in prison with a fine of Rs5 million each. Meanwhile, NAB has initiated a case against officers/officials of the Machinery Maintenance Division Khairpur, Shikarpur, and contractors for alleged misuse of authority and misappropriation/embezzlement of funds. According to the anti-graft watchdog, it has upgraded an investigation into reference with the approval of the competent authority on the allegations of misuse of authority and misappropriation of funds in seven annual development schemes to the tune of over Rs311.5 million against Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani, former MNA from Jacobabad, 11 officers/officials of the Machinery Maintenance Division Khairpur, Shikarpur, and contractors Imran Ali and Abdul Razzak. Mr Jakhrani is said to be a beneficiary of Rs50m from contractors Imran Ali and Abdul Razzak Behrani who were main accused in the reference. Six accused persons in the reference have already been arrested. The reference will be filed in an accountability court in Sukkur in due course of time. Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2020

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