Monday, March 6, 2017

NAB, FIA, FBR too weak to probe complaints against ministers

ISLAMABAD: It’s not only Panama Papers and the prime minister’s children about whom the NAB, FIA and FBR avoided to initiate probe without any fear and favour, the federal ministers are also too powerful to be questioned by these state entities.


Informed sources said that the NAB, FIA and FBR have been approached against two federal ministers for their alleged corruption and fraud; however, none of these entities have initiated any probe into the complaints filed.

In the case of one minister, the complainant is a sitting member of the parliament who has formally taken up the matter with FIA and FBR but failed to move these agencies.  Reminders have also been issued to these agencies by the MP to get the probe initiated against the member of Nawaz Sharif cabinet. However, he did not get any reply from any side.

The complainant, who is member of Upper House, claims to have documentary evidence about a federal minister, who is alleged to have multi-billion rupees wealth but has declared to have merely around Rs 4 million.

Informed sources said that the complainant MP allege that the minister mostly have “benami” properties, details of which are available with the former. It is also alleged that in a government’s land deal, the same minister is now all set to pocket Rs 8 billion. The MP wanted immediate intervention of the authorities to save this alleged corruption.

The complainant MP has directly approached the top bosses of the FBR and FIA besides discussing the same issue with a reputed and influential federal minister, who is said to have promised to take up the issue with the prime minister and get the issue probed.

In another case, a private citizen has filed an application with NAB and FIA against a federal minister, who is alleged to have been involved in a fraudulent dealing. As has been the case of the MP, the citizen is also not getting any positive response from either of the two anti-corruption state entities.

Sources believe that without a nod from the Prime Minister’s Office, none of these state entities would initiate a probe into the allegations leveled against two federal ministers. In the case of Panama Papers, the neutrality and independence of NAB, FIA and FBR stand badly exposed. The former two simply did not bother to look into the matter whereas the later only issued notices apparently to defuse political pressures.

No less than the Supreme Court of Pakistan, while hearing the Panama Papers case against the prime minister and his children, expressed its utter disappointment over the role of these state institutions. Quite a few times, the apex court judges hearing the case lamented that these institutions avoided proceeding in the Panama case owing to the involvement of influentials.

Independent observers, however, believe that without depoliticisation and reformations these institutions could not deliver in the best interest of the people and the state. Following criticism from all and sundry, a parliamentary committee was recently constituted to overhaul the NAB Ordinance and possibly replace it with an independent accountability commission.

But there is no initiative taken so far either by the government or the parliament to ensure the neutrality and independence of the FBR and FIA to look into cases of tax evasion, fraud, corruption etc without any fear and favour.

Some believe that in view of its utter disappointment from the role of these state institutions in Panama Papers, the Supreme Court in the Panama case judgment may direct the government to reform these institutions and make them independent from the control and influence of the rulers.


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