PAC questions NAB chief on recoveries


ISLAMABAD:

The chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Judge (ret’d) Javed Iqbal, assured the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday that he would return home if he failed to satisfy the committee about the allocation of accounts and the progress report on recoveries made by the office since its creation during a closed-door briefing scheduled for January 6, 2022.

The NAB president’s statement came after the accountability branch of Parliament questioned him about unauthorized excess spending while suggesting that it be regularized by the National Assembly in the next mini-budget session, because otherwise , the amount was recoverable on the NAB.

In his much-talked-about appearance before parliament’s highest accountability forum, the NAB chairman categorically said that there should be no doubt that parliament is the supreme institution, adding that he does was “not a king who cannot appear before the PAC”.

At first, Tanveer, while addressing the chairman of the NAB, said he took a long time to appear before the PAC, saying the forum only wanted to discuss important issues and not those discussed in the media or other forums.

“You talk about your performance to the media, but not to the PAC,” Tanveer said, reminding the NAB chief that he was responsible and accountable to the larger parliamentary platform.

“Appearing before the PAC would strengthen your respect,” he said before allowing the head of the NAB to speak.

The NAB chairman told PAC that there should be no doubt that parliament is the supreme institution, adding that he, being the former CJ, has also written about the supremacy of parliament in various judgments.

“I could not come before the PAC earlier for valid reasons, but my absence does not mean that I am a Mughal king and that I cannot appear before the committee”, said the president of the NAB, affirming that the NAB did not believe it. he is not accountable to parliament.

He joked that the first time is always tough, but once you cross the line it gets easier.

Surprisingly, Tuesday was an equally difficult day for auditors as the PAC chairman noted that they recommended the NAB settlement of the grant knowing that the finance division did not support the request for the additional grant and that it cannot be settled without the approval of the assembly. .

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“The audit never recommended settling paras for a division and a ministry except the NAB”, asked the president of the PAC, Rana Tanveer, requesting that the excess money taken by the An additional subsidy bias can now only be resolved if the same is approved in the mini-budget.

Calling the unauthorized additional grants a serious problem, the PAC chairman questioned the auditors, asking how the audit accepted the NAB’s request.

“This is an audit irregularity,” added Rohale Asghar of PML-N.

PPP’s Sherry Rehman and Hina Rabbani Khar were also of the view that it was less the NAB affair than the audit, as the audit recommended correcting something without giving reasons, especially when the Ministry of Finance rejected the NAB’s request.

If it is not regularized by the National Assembly, the amount is recoverable, Tanveer asked the representative of the Ministry of Finance, who replied in the affirmative.

During the meeting, Noor Alam Khan of PTI asked the chairman of the NAB why sometimes it feels like there is only one culprit in the country and he is a politician. The PTI lawmaker further asked the NAB chairman how many cases have been recorded against politicians, judges, military officials and bureaucrats in the country and whether NAB officials report their assets before joining the NAB. Khan added that there should be accountability at all levels, not just politicians, saying the NAB should go against bureaucrats and military officials as well.

In response, the NAB Chairman said that questions were not on the agenda but that I could answer all of those questions if called at another time. Tanveer intervened by saying that the NAB chairman could submit answers in writing, but then suggested that another session could be called to answer all of those questions.

Noor, while revealing that he is withdrawing 168,000 rupees, asked the chairman of the NAB if another institution was raising salaries in the same way the NAB had raised salaries, asking how much salaries for officers in grades 16 to 21 were getting .

The NAB chief, however, replied that dozens of institutions had increased salaries, adding that “it looks like you can’t reach them.” He added that the salaries of NAB officials were increased after 18 years.

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Commenting that “I don’t want to see such things in the headlines tomorrow,” the NAB chairman told PAC members they have the right to condemn the NAB. Tanveer, however, said neither PAC members condemn or accuse him of anything.

Regarding collections, Tanveer told the NAB chairman that PAC wanted details of the looted money and the default money because the default was not corruption. He said the office should also inform PAC of the amount of money collected from housing companies and returned to people. He praised the work of the NAB in this area.

Iqbal replied that he would give everything in writing as billions of rupees would be returned to people. Additionally, Iqbal drew the attention of lawmakers to drafting laws, as fines imposed by the courts take around 15 years to finally settle, revealing that the NAB puts the amount on its books as soon as they are. imposed during the first series of disputes.

While explaining the indirect clawback and the plea negotiations, Iqbal said the NAB also turned over money to provincial governments, adding that he could explain things in detail if the PAC president gave him the chance to s ‘express in his room. “I will tell you how difficult it is to complete the tasks at hand,” Iqbal said, adding that the recovery was not always in the form of banknotes.

Tanveer proposed that the NAB chairman be given an opportunity to explain matters in a closed-door briefing. No one objected to this. The NAB chairman only asked the PAC to ask questions in writing, saying he would “explain things in such detail that they no longer need to ask questions.”

The closed-door meeting would take place on January 6.

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