NAB Chairman excuses himself from appearing before NA’s committee

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NAB

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s standing committee on Law and Justice summoned the National Accountability Bureau’s chairperson on Wednesday.

He excused himself from today’s appearance as he had to chair the anti-corruption watchdog’s execution body session.

NAB Chairperson Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal was summoned for initiating an investigation into allegations of sending money to India against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The committee ordered him to appear in person on Wednesday and brief the committee on the investigations into the money laundering allegations. The NAB chief has been told to bring along other officers involved in the investigations. Now, the committee has summoned him on Friday.

On May 8, NAB took notice of a misleading newspaper article based on a ‘flawed’ report of the World Bank, which stated that Sharif was involved in sending $4.9 billion to India.

PML-N lawmaker Rana Hayat had raised a point of order, after which the NA standing committee notice of the issue. Chaudhary Ashraf heads the committee.

On the other hand, two leaders of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Naveed Qamar and Shagufta Jamani, submitted their resignations, saying that such action against the NAB chief would hinder the ongoing accountability drive in the country.

NAB says that the World Bank’s migration and remittance book released in September 2016 carried information that foreign exchange reserves of India increased by $4.9 billion after receiving the sum sent through money laundering, inflicting losses to Pakistan’s national exchequer.

The World Bank stated that “the report does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individuals”. The State Bank of Pakistan said the estimates showed in the World Bank report were based on “assumptions”, which did not reflect the reality.

After the State Bank’s clarification, NAB issued a brief statement, asking that if the World Bank report is incorrect, why they have yet to change the figure of $4.9 billion dollars from Pakistan in its report.

“We would also like to refer to a statement by the State Bank of Pakistan which rejects estimates of $4.9 billion in remittances from Pakistan to India on Sept 21, 2016,” said a World Bank spokesperson. The corruption watchdog nonetheless maintains that it is authorised to investigate money laundering as per the law.

According to an official press statement, the representatives of the NAB attended the meeting and submitted written request from the office of the Chairman NAB stating therein that the notice about the meeting of the Standing Committee was received to him on 16-02-2018 and due to his prior commitments and meeting of the executive board he is unable to attend the meeting of the Standing Committee.

The Committee considered the said request and pleased to adjourn the said agenda regarding his briefing by the majority of opinion till 22-05-2018 at 02:00PM at Parliament House Islamabad.

The Committee considered the Bills “The Constitution (Thirtieth Amendment) Bill, 2017 (Government Bill) and decided that the Bill may be deferred till its next meeting for further deliberations.

Members/MNAs/Movers, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, Muhammad Moeen Wattoo, Muhammad Tallal Chaudhry, Mian Adul Mannan, Sardar Muhammad Amjad Farooq Khan Khosa, Usman Ibrahim, Ms. Sabiha Nazir, Ms. Kiran Haider, Eng. Ali Muhammad Khan Advocate, Dr. Arif Alvi, S.A Iqbal Quadri, Moulana Muhammad Khan Sherani, Ms. Aisha Syed, and Rana Muhammad Hayat Khan, MNA attended the meeting besides them senior officers from NAB and the Ministry of Law and Justice attended the meeting. – NNI