National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal on Thursday said the anti-graft body had always conducted plea bargain with the accused as per the Constitution and the NAB law, however, some elements had been criticising the practice without any reason.
“The bureau has never conducted plea bargain through the use of force,” he said while addressing a ceremony at the NAB headquarters here to distribute cheques worth Rs730 million among 1,434 affected persons of the Grand Avenue Housing Society.
The NAB chairman said that critics should be aware of the fact that the plea bargain law was also in practice in European countries.
NAB was ensuring the provision of plots to affected persons of various housing societies where cash payments were not possible, he said, claiming that the national-graft buster had never responded to criticism by any parliamentarian and always respected them.
“NAB has never performed any task in violation of the Constitution and law,” he said, “It is the jurisdiction of parliamentarians to make legislation whatsoever.”
Pertaining to a proposed amendment to the NAB Ordinance, the chairman said that no amendment would be helpful if it would benefit the corrupt. He added that the amendment should aim at encouraging NAB and the accountability process would “continue till the poor get their right.”
Iqbal said: “The bureau has always welcomed and appreciated constructive criticism. But the critics should get proper and factual information before criticising NAB and they should also get a version of NAB before releasing their stories.”
Regarding corruption cases, the chairman said that it was a “general perception” that the NAB cases were not reaching conclusion, however, NAB had no powers to get its cases decided as it was the courts’ discretion. “The bureau has always tried hard for ensuring the submission of cases in courts. NAB is well aware of the delay in conclusion of cases as the possible delay is due to shortage of accountability courts,” Iqbal added.
NAB Lahore Director General Shehzad Saleem said that the regional bureau was showing “great performance”. He added that it had reached a plea bargain worth Rs14 billion during the last four years, while it also ensured the indirect recovery of Rs60.66 billion.
During the period, Saleem said around 206 references worth Rs60 billion were filed in the courts and NAB had recovered Rs134 billion worth of amount during the last four years. “The NAB Lahore’s performance has been increased by 700 per cent annually, which is commendable,” he added.
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