LAHORE, Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Qamar Zaman Chaudhry has said that Plea Bargain is in NAB Ordinance NAB reviews plea bargain application of any accused , following the relevant law.
He was addressing a meeting with senior editors and reporters organized by Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) at a local hotel on Monday.CPNE president Zia Shahid,DG NAB Lahore Syed Burhan Ali, senior journalists Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami,Arif Nizami,Salman Ghani,Zulfiqar Rahat,Adeeb Jawdani,Zulfiqar Rahat,Amjad Iqbal and others were present on the occasion.
Chairman NAB said that almost every country of the world has plea bargain law which exists in Pakistan as well and NAB has recovered an amount of Rs 285 billion during its last 16 years while exercising this voluntary return law.
He said the NAB also handed over a handsome amount to affectees of various scams including Double Shah scam, cooperatives scams and many housing societies scams. However,he added that plea bargain is not a practice to give a "free hand" to any one but a government official has to get dismissal,while elected member of a public office gets ineligible for ten years,and a businessman has to lose facility he misused.
Qamar Zaman said NAB advertises in newspapers to seek claims by the victims on any scam.Then it (NAB) adds interest (as per State Bank policy) and finally prepares plea bargain on the total amount claimed by the victims while adding the interest. He said that no case is investigated by a single officer rather a four-member Combined Investigation Team (CIT) of NAB examines the matter and on the findings of the CIT the NAB proceeds for further action.
"Most of the people have a perception that NAB gets a share through plea bargain which is completely wrong", he said and added that NAB deposits the total amount into national treasury or distributes among the affectees", he clarified.
To a question about Baluchistan Finance Department corruption case, Qamar Zaman said that it was not Rs 40 billion but only 2.2 billion.The provincial government also commended NAB performance and the total amount recovered through plea bargain will be given to the provincial government.
He urged the CPNE president to form an investigation committee to check as to who made up this wrong figure while reporting this case.He said the controversy would end this way.
He said that NAB was taking action against all the political parties without any discrimination, adding that NAB chairman has the authority of taking sou-moto, however, in order to protect the honour of any citizen NAB only takes action after receiving sound proof. To another question,he said NAB suffered during the previous government's tenure as four chairmen were changed during five years.However,he assured that the situation improved under the present government and the department was working with commitment.