NAB needs Saudi-styled powers: Javed Iqbal


LAHORE: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal on Thursday said that if he is given the powers, which are available to the anti-corruption authorities in Saudi Arabia, he can bring back all the looted money back to Pakistan in the shortest possible time.

“The Saudi authorities took four weeks to recover the looted wealth and he would accomplish the task in just three weeks,” he claimed while addressing traders and manufacturers at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in Karachi.

“Times have changed. Now even those corrupt people have been sent behind the bars about whom nobody had ever imagined so,” Javed Iqbal said, adding that everybody would have to reap what he would sow.

The NAB chief noted that cases of business community pertaining to income tax and sales tax would henceforth be referred to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), as tax evasion was different from money-laundering.

He clarified that money-laundering was a crime and the Supreme Court of Pakistan had also sent a number of such cases to NAB in the past, adding that the Bureau had always filed references after thorough investigation. 

The chairman added that various cases regarding Panama scandal were in progress as the Bureau had set its goal to make Pakistan corruption-free, stressing that NAB was a people-friendly institution. 

Javed Iqbal said a committee comprising representatives of various chambers of commerce and industry of the country had been formed to redress their issues and grievances. 

He dispelled an impression that the business community was suffering due to NAB and said that watchdog would not be a cause of disruption for them in their businesses. 

Javed Iqbal revealed that NAB did not directly take action on bank default cases, but the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) sent such cases to it. He said that NAB had never interfered with bank default cases unless a bank referred a case to it having failed to settle with clients through negotiations.

The NAB chief further remarked that the Bureau officials were performing their duties to implement the law without any pressure, influence or threat. 

To redress traders’ complaints, a special desk had been set up at the NAB headquarters, he said, and added that special desks had also been set up at the regional offices of the watchdog. 

Later, the business community appreciated the performance of NAB under the leadership of its chairman Javed Iqbal, and said that they would continue playing their role for national prosperity and development.

NAB Lahore Director General Shahzad Saleem, SAARC Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik, FPCCI Senior Vice President Abdur Rauf and others were also present on the occasion.