Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, Chairman of Pakistan’s corruption watchdog–the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), said Monday that Pakistan and China have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the eradication of corruption from both the countries.
“Both the countries were jointly working towards ensuring transparency in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project,” he said repoAPP.
While terming corruption as a curse, the accountability bureau head said his organization is ready to come up to the expectations of the nation to eradicate the menace of corruption from the country once and for all.
China is lending/investing $62 billion for completion of CPEC– backed by sovereign guarantees from Pakistan. Both countries therefore, have a lot at stake, warranting complete transparency, due diligence and compliance with acceptable international standards in order to attract foreign direct investments as CPEC morphs into a regional opportunity. To enable corruption/bribery-free environment on both sides and facilitate a mutually beneficial CPEC ecosystem, the MOU was a must, several observers said.
China also wants the private sector of Pakistan to capitalize on CPEC for growth and expansion. The business community of Pakistan would get benefits from Special Economic Zones that are to be set-up under CPEC and developing mutually beneficial JVS with their Chinese counterparts– all these require a corruption-free conducive environment, they added.
The NAB chairman said the bureau had perfected its procedures and its officials were working towards complete eradication of corruption in the country as a national duty.
He also said that NAB’s proactive anti-corruption strategy had started yielding positive dividends, while adding, “We have not only opened our doors for the public, but timelines have also been fixed for processing of any complaint of corruption from complaint verification to filing of reference in the respective accountability court in 10 months.” The policy is being implemented very strictly to recover looted money from the corrupt people and deposit it in the national exchequer, Justice Iqbal added.
Iqbal said that NAB had recovered Rs 288 billion which was a record achievement of any anti-corruption organization working in Pakistan. NAB’s conviction ratio was about 76 per cent, he added. “We have also adopted a policy to arrest proclaimed offenders and absconders to bring them to justice. Within three months, we have apprehended 15 proclaimed offenders,” he informed media.
He said that NAB had ordered for filing early hearing of 1,138 undertrial references in the respective accountability courts so that approximately Rs 900 billion could be recovered from corrupt persons and punish them in accordance with the law.
He further said that on the basis of the annual evaluation reports, officers/officials of NAB headquarters and all regional bureaus would be informed about their strengths and weaknesses. They were also being directed to overcome their shortcomings to improve the existing system to maintain a check and balance system.