By Ansar Abbasi

While the nation is still mourning the loss of Rs 100 billion as a result of the infamous NRO, many more billions are about to be lost, as the dying NAB has been rendered useless to pursue ripe cases of corruption.

Sources in the NAB said that after being made a dormant organisation for the last two years, the bureau is no more effectively pursuing certain high-profile cases of corruption involving at least Rs 50 billion.

These sources said the NAB, which is on the verge of its death, has dozens of ripe cases of mega corruption while it is also receiving complaints of massive corruption in government departments, but it remains unmoved.

The government has finalised a draft law to abolish the NAB and create a new anti-corruption body, Accountability Commission, but with fewer powers to effectively check corruption. The NAB sources said that the fate of some ripe cases of corruption, presently lying pending with the bureau, is uncertain. These sources said that some of these cases include the Frontier forest scam of Rs 10 billion; the Frontier GPO related multi-billion rupee pension scam and the extension of the probe into the Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan GPOs; the Forex scam of Rs 16 billion; the Rs 9 billion Double Shah scam; the Rs 5 billion Banker City fraud; the Overseas Foundation scam of Rs 1.5 billion; the land grabbing case of the CAA, Karachi worth Rs7.5 billion etc.

In some of these cases, it is said the NAB has already been informally told not to proceed whereas in other cases too the bureau is practically unmoved for the last one year because of its uncertain future.

A federal minister has recently successfully influenced the NAB and barred it from taking any action against timber mafia in Frontier that with the connivance of the NWFP authorities is presently smuggling wood worth Rs 10 billion. These sources said that truckloads worth millions are being smuggled with the connivance of the Frontier authorities everyday.

In certain court cases, the NAB was directed not to contest them so as to enable the acquittal of the influential accused. A senior NAB source said that a top ruler in Islamabad and an influential Sindh minister, who had opted not to get their cases quashed through the NRO, got themselves acquitted from courts after ensuring that the NAB lawyers did not contest their cases in the court of law.

Meanwhile, the Transparency International Pakistan has also referred complaints of financial corruption in the government institutions like the EOBI, the SSGL, KESC etc to the NAB but no serious action is taken to probe these complaints. According to reports, corruption in the country has increased manifold, however, there is no check on it as far as the federal government is concerned.

Of late, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani moved only in a selected few cases like the Pakistan Steels after the media raised hue and cry over the rampant corruption in the government departments. However, there is no serious effort and comprehensive strategy to seriously fight corruption.

Officials within the NAB are extremely frustrated with this situation and say that instead of making the NAB an independent and neutral body, it is being abolished to create a new body with no powers. These sources said that under the NAB ordinance, it was mandatory to present annual report to the president and release it to the public. However, this regime did not allow the government to make the NAB reports public though the bureau had already published 700 copies of its annual report.

During the last ten years, it is said that despite being misused in Musharraf’s tenure for the ousted dictator’s political gains, a total of Rs 225 billion looted money has been recovered by the NAB.