'NAB failed to sniff out corruption right under its nose'

Those tasked with eliminating corruption found guilty of graft, committee members observe

Rizwan Shehzad   July 09, 2022


Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was left shocked after data submitted to it has disclosed that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had failed to sniff out corruption right under its own nose as 44 of its officials were shown to have stood trials over their involvement in corruption and financial misappropriation.

Ironically, the officials of the anti-graft watchdog faced charges of corrupt practices including accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income, filing references in violation of rules, compromising the investigation and “taking eight sheep” in bribes.

The revelation has come at a time when the NAB's top officials, including the former chief, have come under fire for their alleged “sleazy conduct” and harassment of women.

The list of the NAB officials facing corruption charges has lifted the lid on corruption under the graft buster’s nose as the data went on to show that some of the accused were awarded a major penalty of dismissal from service as some are still standing trial while others convicted from the court.

However, a few others have returned to their jobs after acquittal.

Apart from those suspended, a few others resigned and retired from the service. However, surprising as it may seem, some officials displayed that they understood the system well and went on to reap benefits from the option of a plea bargain – a process to negotiate the resolution of a criminal case without a trial.

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NAB, an autonomous body which the experts say was established to keep a check on the government with powers to even arrest a sitting prime minister, has often faced criticism for “political engineering” but the involvement of its officials in corruption has shocked the lawmakers.

PAC members, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that they were shocked to learn that those tasked to eliminate corruption were found guilty of committing corruption. They questioned the credibility of the bureau, saying court judgments had already left little to the imagination as to how the bureau was used as an instrument to coerce political opponents.

According to NAB data, an additional director, Rooman Zaheer, (BS-19), was found guilty of corruption and dismissed from service in 2016. An assistant director, Saqib Farooq, (BS-17), faced charges of misconduct and corruption and was awarded a major penalty of removal from service.

A grade-16 officer, Zainul Abdin, was also sacked for the same charges. Kashif Mumtaz Gondal, assistant director in (BS-17), was guilty of unethical conduct and he was not only “censured” but his increment was withheld for a year.

It seems grades didn’t matter much as Naib Qasid was also found guilty of corruption but faced the minor penalty of not getting an increment for five years.

Apart from these six guilty NAB staffers, a total of 38 NAB officials stood trial and faced corruption charges under NAO, 1999, the NAB data till April 2022 revealed. The data showed that several others were dismissed from service as well for committing corruption instead of eliminating it.

Among these 38, an additional director, Muhammad Baqir Hussain, along with his co-accused, obtained a pecuniary advantage of Rs800,000 and eight sheep. The case has already been decided as the accused availed option of a plea bargain and stood convicted.

An investigation officer, Osama Younis, applied the skills he learned during service and opted for a plea bargain of Rs63 million, which was approved in December 2021. Similarly, grade-16 officer Zainul Abideen also opted for a plea bargain of Rs22 million, which was also approved in December 2021.

The data also shows that inquiry was closed against a couple of officials, who were repatriated to the parent department. There are others whose inquiry is under process yet they are working at NAB.


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