ISLAMABAD, Dec 28: Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Qamar Zaman Chaudhry said that NAB always performs with in ambits of the constitution, adding the provision of the plea bargain exists not only in the laws of many countries but in Pakistan too which, helped recover money from the looters and plunderers and its returned to the coffer. While talking to media, Mr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhry said under Section 25-B of Accountability Ordinance, every criminal is bound to place a request for plea bargain for settlement of case, adding the request for plea bargain was thoroughly reviewed and opinion of the law experts was also sought and finally approval for the plea bargain is submitted before the Honorable Accountability Court for approval.
He chairman said that the NAB since its inception has so far recovered rupees 285 billion and during the recent time it has recovered rupees 45 billion.
To a question, he said that an amount of rupees Rs960 million recovered from Sohail Majeed Shah besides confiscating 11 properties which included houses in DHA and Clifton in Karachi. Whereas, Rs10 million were recovered from one Rehmat Khan, an XEN who was also involved in the same case. Similarly, he added Rs653.2 million, three and a half kilo gold, two Mercedes cars, two houses which had been purchased with the plundered money also had been impounded.
To another question, he denied the impression that a huge amount of Rs40 billion was involved in the said case, adding an amount of Rs2.24 billion was embezzled from development projects of Rs6 billion.
To yet another question, he said the Accountability Bureau deposits each and every penny in the national kitty, recovered through the process of plea bargain. He said under the plea bargain a person confessed his crime is ineligible to take part in the national politics for a period of 10 years besides he is also ineligible to take loan from any banks or financial institutions and if he is government employee, the applicant stands removed from his job routinely.
To a question, he denies that the NAB receives its share in shape of money in return of a plea bargain finalized with an accused person, adding what-so-ever amount is received is deposited in the national exchequer. Continuing he said, the law of plea bargain not only exists in Pakistan but also in vogue in United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), India, Canada and many other countries.
He recalled that the NAB had recovered Rs3.5 billion from the ill-famed ‘Double Shah’ and returned the money to as many as 28,899 affectees who were lured by him. He added Mufti Ahsan who had deprived thousands of people from Rs. 8 billion in the ‘Modarba Companies Scandal’ had been sent to jail without involving them in plea bargain, therefore most of the affected people in the scam still remain high and dry as their money has not been returned to them.
To another question, about severe criticism on the provision of plea bargain, Qamar Zaman said that NAB is acting in accordance with the law. He reminded that the former Chief Justice of Supreme Court (SC) Iftikhar Chaudhry had given a verdict in 2012 in the Rental Power Projects case and the NAB acting on the court’s order had recovered Rs12 billion under the plea bargain from the owners of the RPPs and got them deposited in the national exchequer. Yet to another question, he said that a number of institutions including PILDATs and Transparency International have hailed the performance of the NAB.