(CTN News) – Amidst the tumultuous world of political intrigue and the relentless quest for justice, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) set out on a perilous quest to unravel the tangled web of fifty mega-corruption cases that had entangled prominent political personalities.
Nevertheless, all the hubbub aside, the result is a story of money spent without equal return. After spending billions of rupees on these cases, the NAB achieved an unnerving zero in terms of recovery, much like a dedicated chess player navigating a difficult board.
Purportedly fought to restock the national coffers, this difficult struggle is a monument to wasted investments and financial setbacks. Instead of a trail of recovered cash, the anti-corruption watchdog’s efforts have left a financial weight on the coffers it was trying to strengthen.
Fifty high-profile corruption cases have cost the NAB over Rs6 billion to investigate over the last eight years. According to the Hum Investigation Team, the NAB spent Rs27 billion during those eight years, including other cases.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) claims that prominent figures involved in these massive corruption cases stole about Rs900 billion from the country’s coffers.
Numerous landmark decisions have gone against the NAB within the framework of its new legislation.
It is worth mentioning that the NAB used more than Rs1 billion to investigate the Panama case from 2017 until Nawaz Sharif was found not guilty.
No significant convictions were obtained, and not a single rupee was recovered throughout these eight years, despite the combined efforts of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), a joint investigation team, international corporations, and the Asset Recovery Unit.
Of the 50 high-profile instances, 80% had their cases concluded after obtaining bail, while 5% were found not guilty. Also, 55% of the major players had their inquiries terminated by NAB.
Over eight years, the Hum Investigation Team found that the Ministry of Law spent Rs800 million on 69 judges’ and staff’s salaries and operational expenses spread out among 24 accountability courts.
While the NAB and the Asset Recovery Unit teams investigated the matter, they went on more than 41 international travels, costing Rs170.
The teams returned from their excursions to the US, UK, UAE, China, and Switzerland, having spent more than Rs200 million but still hadn’t achieved much.
Additionally, the government granted the NAB Rs2.23 billion in the 2018–19 budget and Rs4.24 billion in the 2019–20 budget.
The NAB received Rs5.08 billion in the 2020-21 budget, including an extra grant of Rs500 million. In the fiscal year 2022–23, the NAB got more than Rs5 billion, while in the 2021–22 budget, the government had allotted Rs5.13 billion to the NAB.
Findings from the Hum Investigation Team indicate that 95% of the accused were physically remanded in NAB prison for 37 days and incarcerated for 130 days on judicial remand.
The total cost to the national coffers from the collective remand was Rs270 million, lasting 1,650 days. The total number of days these prominent figures spent behind bars since 2018 was 5,900.
The anticipated cost of the inmates’ time spent in imprisonment and court appearances was roughly Rs300 million. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), prison administrations, courts, and the police force all contributed to compiling these financial details.
Since 2017, the NAB has investigated allegations involving more than 250 sitting and former lawmakers. Individuals accountable for a Rs700 billion loss to the national exchequer were the targets of the NAB’s 513 references, investigations, inquiries, and complaints.
The NAB chairman assigned twelve policemen and twenty-six sports personnel to a special cell to investigate these cases. A total of Rs80 million was allotted for the salaries of the sporting personnel and special cell officers.
In addition, two joint inquiry teams were formed at one time, costing Rs20 million. The prosecution teams, NAB intelligence branch, and operations wing—particularly in the UK—received almost 70 million rupees.
The acquisition of data from the UAE also received an allocation of approximately Rs10 million. For Rs20 million, the NAB used its forensic lab to investigate fictitious transactions.
From June 9, 2019, until December 11, 2019, Asif Ali Zardari was incarcerated and held by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with the suspected false accounts case.
After serving 56 days in NAB custody and an extra 113 days in prison, the sister of the former president, Faryal Talpur, was finally freed on bond on December 17, 2019. Both were entangled in the alleged Rs54 billion issue of false accounts.
Following the 2017 case transfer to NAB by the Supreme Court, the combined investigating team expended a significant Rs80 million.
Between 2018 and 2019, Shehbaz Sharif spent 293 days in the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody or jail. This was not enough time for Hamza Shehbaz, who spent 697 days between June 2019 and February 2021 in prison and NAB custody.
Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme, Chaudhry Sugar Mills, money laundering, and assets surpassing income were all factors in the 25 billion rupees in cases brought against the Shehbaz Sharif family.
Thirteen individuals representing NAB, FIA, and ARU traveled to the UK four times for information gathering, spending more than Rs30 million.
Approximately Rs140 million was spent by the NAB to hire a special prosecutor, 15 investigation officers, and a prosecutor in the cases against the Shehbaz Sharif family. Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz’s appearances required petrol, bulletproof trucks, and special security officers, which cost an additional Rs30 million.
The cases involving several prominent figures, including as Babar Awan, Qamarul Islam, Mir Shakeelur Rehman, Tayyaba Farooq, and others, cost more than Rs250 million.
Mir Shakeelur Rehman, Tayyaba Farooq, Qamarul Islam, Babar Awan, and Raja Pervez Ashraf were all cleared in NAB trials. After spending Rs320 on investigations and inquiries, the NAB brought closure to more than 30 high-profile cases. The head of Pakistan’s ruling party, the Tehreek-e-Insaf, has spent more than a hundred days behind bars.
Khawaja Asif was detained for 179 days, from December 29, 2020, to June 23, 2021, after the NAB spent over Rs30 million on the disproportionate assets case against him.
With the Khawaja brothers serving 404 days in NAB custody and prison from February 2, 2019, to March 17, 2020, and a large expenditure of Rs70 million, the cases concerning the Khawajas were initiated.
The Panama case and Chaudhry Sugar Mills put Maryam Nawaz in danger, as she faced 47 days in NAB custody with an extra 39 days behind bars. About Rs30 million was spent by the NAB on the Maryam Nawaz case.
While PPP politician Sharjeel Memon spent 545 days in jail for an alleged corruption case, the NAB spent Rs160 million researching a case against him. Prosecuting former Sindh Assembly speaker Agha Siraj Durrani cost the NAB Rs35 million.
Over the past four years, the NAB has incurred significant resources due to the 470 days that former petroleum minister Asim Hussain spent in custody and jail due to his involvement in several cases.
Shah remained in NAB detention and jail for an unprecedented 763 days, and the NAB spent over Rs100 million on the case against him.
Since PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal spent 64 days in NAB custody and jail, the spending in the case against him surpassed Rs35 million.
Aleem Khan, leader of the IPP, was indicted on February 6, 2019, and remained in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) ‘s custody until May 15, 2019, costing a total of Rs70 million.
Bureaucrats Fawad Hasan Fawad and Ahad Cheema were the subjects of cases that cost the NAB more than Rs69 million. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) held Fawad Hasan Fawad for 586 days and jailed Ahad Cheema for 616 days.