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NAB took notice of 435 offshore companies of Pakistanis in Panama-British Virgin Island

27 December, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureaus (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, while taking notice of 435 offshore companies of Pakistanis in Panama and British Virgin Island, Tuesday directed immediate inquiry into the matter.

The NAB chairman directed the bureau that the matter should be investigated without any pressure or influence, a press statement issued by the organisation said.

The chairman directed the bureau to approach Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to collect information about those 435 offshore companies.

The Supreme Court had last month sent notices to NAB and the federal government seeking reports on action taken against Pakistanis named in the Panama Papers.

The Panama Papers, a massive investigation into secretive offshore companies owned by the world’s political and business elite, had sparked controversy in several countries last year. At home, their publication led to the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Meanwhile, NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal directed the regional offices of the accountability watchdog to speed up investigations against the corruption-accused individuals so that the embezzled money estimated to the tune of Rs 900 billion could be recovered.

The NAB chief issued the directives on Tuesday while chairing a high-profile meeting of officials at the bureau’s headquarter in Islamabad, where he was apprised of the pending inquiries regarding corruption and the progress made in this regard.

Justice (r) Javed Iqbal was informed that 499 inquiries and 287 investigations were underway in different regional offices of the anti-corruption watchdog to which he sought replies as to why the NAB procedure ensuring completion of investigations within a span of 10 months was not followed so that references could be subsequently filed against the accused in the accountability courts. According to a communiqué issued after the meeting, the NAB chief was briefed that a total of 1,138 references were under scrutiny by different accountability courts including 347 references filed by NAB Lahore office, 275 by Karachi bureau, 185 by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region, 97 by Balochistan, 171 by Rawalpindi, 34 by Multan and 29 by Sukkur office of the anti-graft watchdog.

Justice (r) Javed Iqbal instructed the NAB officials to move applications in the accountability courts seeking early hearings of the corruption references so that the ill-gotten money estimated to be around 900 billion could be recovered and deposited in the national exchequer besides ensuring punishment for the individuals found guilty of corruption on the basis of tangible evidence.

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