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ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) criticised the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman for alleged targeted accountability during his tenure and sought details of payments made in Broadsheet scandal and the $140 million recovered from Malik Riaz’s family in London in November 2019 and adjusted in the fine imposed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The committee was briefed on the NAB recoveries. Chairman NAB Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal and other official briefed and replied to the questions raised by parliamentarians.

Rana Tanvir Hussain criticised the NAB for not carrying out transparent and across the board accountability during his tenure and directed to investigate the former government of the PTI for the delay in spot buying LNG, hike in wheat and medicines and other items prices.

The Chairman committee said that the delay in LNG spot purchase caused Rs20 billion losses to the national exchequer, adding even some media report suggested the loss was of Rs120 billion.

He maintained that political engineering and politically-motivated cases were also under investigation of the NAB. The decision to investigate was quick in some cases and slow in other cases, he added.

Member Committee Khawaja Asif alleged that the amount recovered from Malik Riaz family in London was returned to him by adjusting in the fine imposed by the apex court. He argued that this amount should not be part of recovery of the NAB.

The chairman NAB assured that he would come with detail as the NAB transferred the amount to an account administered by the apex court.

Responding to Khawaja Asif, chairman NAB also clarified that the company tendered apology to former prime minister Mian Nawaz Shairf was not Broadsheet but some other company. He said he would read the report of the commission on Broadsheet and he would share further information, if required.

The committee was also apprised that the NAB during the tenure of Chairman Javed Iqbal recovered Rs587 billion out of total recovery of Rs882 billion since its inception.

The committee asked the chairman NAB to explain huge recovery of Rs40 billion in the last three years and looted amount recovered from public office holders in the next meeting.

Member Committee Shahida Akhtar Ali asked about the results of investigations into Malam Jabba and Peshawar BRT projects. The chairman said they followed the ruling of the courts.

Replying to a question regarding an inquiry against former prime minister Imran Khan over allegations that an expensive necklace received as a gift during his tenure was sold to a jeweller for 18 crore instead of depositing it to the state gift repository, the chairman said that no complaint was launched with the bureau.

He declined to comment on the LNG cases against former Prime Minister and Energy Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. He said, “Don’t ask me question regarding Shahid Abbasi.”

The chairman NAB also requested the committee that the committee should recommend his participation in any amendment in the NAB Ordinance.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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