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Strom in a teacup created over bureau’s financial recoveries: NAB chief

NAB chief said no institution was a “sacred cow”. (Source: Dawn)

LAHORE: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Javed Iqbal on Thursday lashed out at the critics after questions were raised in political circles on the whereabouts of the monetary recoveries worth hundreds of billions of rupees made by the watchdog.

According to a media report, the Finance Ministry had expressed complete ignorance about the whereabouts of over Rs821 billion, except Rs6.458bn, that the NAB claimed to have recovered since its establishment some 16 years ago. Afterwards, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had asked the authorities concerned to carry out a probe into the matter and ascertain the whereabouts of the amount.

Addressing a ceremony in Lahore, the NAB chief termed the episode a “storm in a teacup”. “Recovery is not in the form of currency that we can invite you to count the bills,” he said, adding that the body calculated recoveries in different forms, such as, land and wheat.

“A complete audit of NAB has been carried out three times, and with God’s grace, apart from two to four ordinary lapses, nothing unusual or strange came to the fore,” the watchdog’s chairman added.

He said that blaming NAB would not end the cases, adding “controversies have surrounded the bureau because it questioned powerful people for laundering money worth billions of rupees.”

The NAB chairman said in the four years under him the accountability watchdog registered 1,270 references involving a sum of Rs1,386 billion. He said none of the references were “made up in the air”, adding that the bureau would still be reviewing all the 1,270 references.

Responding to criticism on NAB cases not reaching their conclusion, the chairman said a case reaches its “logical end” when a reference is sent to the relevant court. He explained that deciding on cases was the job of accountability courts and not of the watchdog.

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