ISLAMABAD: The national accountability watchdog revised on Friday its Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), requiring its officer to finish paperwork and submit all references within a 10-month deadline.

During a meeting to review the performance of all National Accountability Bureau (NAB) wings here, Chairman NAB Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal said that for the first time, timelines had been prescribed for quick disposal of cases “from complaint verification-to-inquiry-to-investigation and finally submitting a case in the Accountability Courts.

He said that NAB had also introduced a new system of Combined Investigation Team (CIT) to benefit from the experience of senior supervisory officers.

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CITs, he said, would comprise a director, additional director, investigation officer and a senior legal counsel.

Stressing the need for rooting out corruption, Javed Iqbal said that NAB had devised a proactive anti-corruption strategy, especially a new operational methodology, by dividing all case proceedings into three categories: complaint verification, inquiry and investigation.

Citing various figures, he said that the number of complaints, inquiries and investigations had almost doubled this year against the same period in the 2017-2018.

Quoting from a report compiled by PILDAT, he said that 42 per cent of people trusted NAB against 42 per cent trust ratio for police and 29 per cent for other government officials.

Citing another report compiled by Transparency International, he said that Pakistan’s ranking in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) had risen from 126 to 116.

Pakistan, he said, was a role model for SAARC countries in corruption eradication and because of this it was made the first chairman of SAARC countries’ Anti-Corruption Forum.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) and Mishal Pakistan ranked Pakistan at 126th on the Global Competitiveness Index. Previously, the country was at 122nd place.

He said that NAB had set up its first forensic science lab in Rawalpindi/Islamabad, possessing advanced facilities such as digital forensics, document and fingerprint analysis.

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On the bilateral cooperation front, NAB had signed an MoU with China, broadening cooperation in the field of anti-corruption.

NAB, he said, had also set up more than 50,000 Character-Building Societies in universities and colleges.

The accountability watchdog was also keenly monitoring cases of public cheating by fraudulent financial companies, besides keeping a close eye on bank frauds, willful bank loan defaults, misuse of authority and embezzlement of state funds by government servants.

Since bureau’s inception, NAB had recovered nearly Rs296 billion of ill-gotten money.

Highlighting the bureau’s zero-tolerance policy for corruption, Javed Iqbal directed all DGs to arrest all proclaimed offenders and absconders by utilizing all resources at their disposal.