Covid-diagnosed NAB chief skips PAC grilling, once again

ISLAMABAD: Chairman National Accountability Bureau Justice ® Javed Iqbal who keeps on avoiding the Public Accounts Committee grilling did not appear before it even today (Wednesday) due to his health condition.

Sources informed that the NAB head wrote a letter to the PAC chairman informing him that he was unable to appear before the National Assembly’s accounts scrutiny panel today as he was diagnosed with coronavirus.

The PAC had summoned the NAB chief to attend the committee’s meeting and brief it about the details of all NAB recoveries.

During last PAC meeting on Jan 17, the NAB chief did not attend the in-camera session of the accounts committee which was ironically convened on his own wish saying that Prime Minister Imran Khan had stopped him from appearing before any committee and instead of him, he sent NAB director-general finance to brief the NA panel. But the PAC chairman refused to get a briefing from the DG finance and adjourned the meeting.

However, later it was disclosed that the premier did not stop the NAB chief from appearing before the accounts committee. So the NA scrutiny panel again summoned Justice (retd) Iqbal on Jan 26 and issued a notification in this regard.

Later, the Public Accounts Committee held its session presided over by its Chairman Rana Tanvir Hussain at Parliament House.

During the meeting, NAB DG Husnain Ahmad informed the members of NA panel that different ranges of the bureau made recoveries worth Rs54.631 billion.

Giving the breakdown, the DG said that the NAB Lahore recovered Rs19 billion, NAB Karachi Rs9 billion; KPK Rs3 billion; Balochistan Rs2 billion; Rawalpindi Rs12 billion; Multan Rs0.479 billion; Sukkur Rs2 billion; and NAB headquarters made cash recovery worth Rs3 billion.

Committee member Ayaz Sadiq asked the DG to inform the PAC about the stolen assets otherwise they could not see the full picture of NAB recovery.

On this, the DG said that NAB recovered Rs821.57 billion till Oct 2021. The bureau made indirect recovery of over Rs500 billion. This recovery was made in the shape of cash, land property, Ponzi scheme, housing societies and court cases.

Mr Sadiq asked the DG that the PAC wanted complete details of all these cases. PAC chairman, too, said that the committee needed details of each and everything including details of Book Entry.

The DG continued that the bureau made Rs500 billion indirect recoveries and made Rs76 billion direct recoveries. He said Rs54 billion recoveries were made in cash.

Husnain Ahmad told the meeting that those who returned looted money voluntarily, some of them got retired and some were doing their jobs.

PAC Chief Rana Tanvir said that government should be informed about those who were already in service.

Science Minister Shibli Faraz remarked that the law needed to be amended for this purpose.

The NAB DG told the meeting that no timeframe was attached to the investigation into white-collar crime anywhere in the world. But the bureau has fixed 10 months’ timeframe which consists of three stages, he added.

The PAC also grilled the DG over 181 million pounds recovery made from real estate tycoon Malik Riaz. The NAB officials said that members should send all their questions to the NAB and the bureau would answer these queries.

Earlier, when the accounts committee was informed that NAB Chief Justice Iqbal was not appearing before the committee as he was tested positive for Covid, the PAC Chairman Rana Tanvir suggested postponing the session. But PPP Senator Sherry Rehman advised otherwise saying that it was okay if NAB DG would brief the members.

The committee also offered prayers for the departed soul of committee member Hina Rabbani’s late father. TF REPORT

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