Chairman National Accountability Bureau’s address in China

Tianging, May 11, 2016 (PPI-OT):Mr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, Chairman NAB said that the malaise of corruption afflicts all nations; though in varying degrees. To eradicate this menace concerted efforts are required at all levels being national, regional and global. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) provides us a global legal foundation to pool our efforts and forge synergies to combat corruption based on its principles. He said Pakistan pledges its support to fight corruption at every level.

It overwhelmingly supports the adoption by the United Nations of the post-2015 development agenda including the Sustainable Development Goals. The effective follow-up on that agenda would give further boost to the ongoing global efforts to fight corruption. He said this while addressing as guest of honour at 9th Annual Conference and General Meeting of International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) at Tianging, China.

He said that Pakistan is firmly committed to preventing and fighting corruption in all its forms. Ever since the ratification of the UNCAC, Pakistan has been a constructive partner of the global community in furthering the objectives of the Convention. We have actively participated in the work of the Conference and its subsidiary bodies. The Pakistan Vision-2025 promises a comprehensive approach to strengthen the national anti-corruption regime.

It, inter alia, calls for preparation and implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, strengthening governance institutions through capacity enhancement and integrity, public sector management agenda and supporting improvements in public administration, strengthening audit functions to improve resource allocations while making embezzlement more easily detectible, procurement reforms, while reducing transaction costs making fraud more difficult to perpetrate and freedom of information through constitutional provisions.

He said that NAB was established in 1999 is the apex anti-corruption agency in the country. It enjoys full administrative and financial independence and autonomy. NAB is founded on the pillars of Enforcement through Prosecution, Awareness/Education and Prevention. Our awareness and prevention regime places special emphasis on enhancing interaction with youth as we feel that the seeds of Integrity can be best planted in this age.

It is the duty of youths to wage war against corruption because they are the leaders of tomorrow. One of our main goals is to sensitize the youth about the ill-effects of corruption, special character-building societies have been set-up in educational institutions across the country. In addition, anti-corruption themes have been incorporated in the curriculum. The slogan of NAB which is “SAY NO TO CORRUPTION” is disseminated through this various mediums.

He said that during the last 16 years, NAB has received about 309,000 complaints from individuals and private / public organizations. During this period NAB completed about 6,300 inquiries, out of which 56 percent of these inquiries matured into formal investigation and more than 80 percent investigations were taken into the stage of prosecution in the courts of law. Out of 1,762 decided cases, we achieved conviction in 889 cases, which is a conviction rate of about 51 percent which speaks for itself.

He said that NAB’s prime focus is on cases of cheating public at large by fraudulent financial companies, bank frauds, willful bank loan defaults, misuse of authority and embezzlement of state funds by Government servants etc. Since NAB’s inception, one of our major achievements has been the recovery of around Rupees 275.4 billion of ill-gotten money.

He said that the law provided for constituting sector-specific prevention committee involving, inter alia, representatives of public and private sectors as well as civil society, to carry out diagnostic analysis of the systemic inefficiencies and loopholes. In this regard, 21 Prevention committees at federal and provincial level were constituted during the year 2015.

He said that promoting bilateral and regional cooperation on anti-corruption issues constitutes an important priority for Pakistan. We are in the process of organizing a regional conference of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries for promoting cooperation in the field of anti-corruption. A Whistle Blower Law has been a green signal by the Federal Cabinet for enactment by the Parliament.

He said that Pakistan has participated actively in the first cycle of the review mechanism of United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Pakistan has reviewed two other States. Pakistan has also been reviewed recently by Norway and Solomon Islands in September, 2015. The Country Review Report is under finalization in consultation with the relevant stakeholders. The outcome of the review under the first cycle would help us further strengthening our national capacity to curb corruption.

The review team was very pleased with the outcome of the review as they had mentioned while on their visit to Pakistan. He said that Pakistan believes that the ongoing implementation review mechanism under the Convention has been a success. It has promoted sharing of experiences, best practices and closer expert level interaction amongst the reviewers and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

He said that we are looking forward to the second review cycle, which will focus on Chapter 2 (Prevention) and chapter 5 (Asset Recovery) of United Nations Convention against Corruption. In our transition to the second cycle, we should fully preserve the principles and characteristics of the review mechanism. He said that asset Recovery is a fundamental pillar of the Convention. NAB is the implementing agency regarding anti-money laundering laws, mutual legal assistance and extradition. Pakistan believes that international cooperation needs to be enhanced to secure the return of proceeds of crime to the country of origin.

He said that the European Union (“EU”) Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) commenced from January, 2011. Pakistan was included in Generalized System of Preferences Plus Scheme from January 2014. Pakistan has ratified all the 27 International Conventions mandatory for inclusion in the Scheme. The United Nations Convention against Corruption is the only convention out of 27, which is relevant to NAB. In this context, NAB has established Inter- Provincial Forum under the chairmanship of Deputy Chairman NAB and heads of all Provincial Anticorruption Establishments of Pakistan being members to coordinate national efforts and to enhance capacity of provinces to check corruption at lower level.

He said that with reference to future of International Anti-corruption Organizations, it is to mention that as per Corruption Perception Index (CPI) prepared by Transparency International for the last few years, most of the developing countries have shown consistent improvement towards curbing corruption, which indicates that anti-corruption organizations have been playing their effective role in combating and preventing corruption.

Pakistan has been showing consistent improvement in the ranking of CPI. The ranking of Pakistan has improved and secured its best position since the first CPI was issued in 1995 and stood at 117th position in 2015 out of 192 countries as compared to 139th position in 2012 and 126th position in 2014. It indicates that in Pakistan anti-corruption agencies, especially NAB being the apex anti-corruption body, has been playing its role very effectively to achieve objective of curbing the menace of corruption from society. We will use our best endeavours that we shall work more vigorously to combat the menace of corruption.

For more information, contact:
National Accountability Bureau (NAB)
Attaturk Avenue G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-111-NAB-NAB (111-622-622)
Fax: +92-51-9214503
Email: chairman@nab.gov.pk, infonab@nab.gov.pk
Website: www.nab.gov.pk