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National Accountability Bureau

ACCOUNTABILITY BEGINS AT HOME

A democratic form of govt being accountable to the people, the elected representatives are accountable to the people who elect them. Our enduring constant crisis in governance stems from our inept and corrupt rulers trampling the essential pillars of good governance, rule of law and accountability. This gives rise to unbridled and widespread corruption, low human development and higher poverty levels.

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE GOVT

The balance of payment crisis has been aggravated by major currency devaluations taking place over the past few months, the Rupee plunging 15% since December last. Surprisingly the currency has appreciated by 4% .e. Rs 7.00 since Imran Khan’s elections on July 25. The State Bank having had to raise interest rates, the current-account gap widened by 43% in the last fiscal year with foreign-exchange reserves dropping alarmingly to $ 9.1 billion. While a China- sponsored “bailout” is rumoured, the newly elected govt might approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These loans come typically with strings attached i.e. curbing fiscal deficits, tighter monetary policy, etc one can expect even tougher conditions given that many structural reforms promised to the IMF were either delayed or not done by the previous govt. The US being front and center in any IMF initiative, one can also expect another boat of “do more”.

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NAB BECOMING EFFECTIVE AGAIN

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) came into existence on 16 Nov 1999. Simultaneously Special Investigation Wings (SIWs) were raised from the ISI to assist National Accountability Ordinance (NAB) in collecting relevant information about the accused persons. FIA and ACEs directors of all four provinces with NAO provisions of ‘power to seek assistance were placed under direct command with investigation officers and allied staff for conduct of probes, inquiries/investigation and filing of references by NAB. Corps NAB Cells were transformed into RAB (Regional Accountability Bureaus),eventually becoming Regional NABs under directions of the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan.

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THE NEEDY AND THE GREEDY

The first day of a recent meeting of the “Partnership Against Corruption Initiative” (PACI) of the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) discussed among other subjects, “Communicating the Anti-corruption Message,” “High Priority Compliance Challenges” and “Collective Action”, and on the next day, “Global Threats and Trends” and “National and Regional Perspectives on Anti-Corruption” (my contribution as one of the speakers).

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Target the Corrupt

What good is a Constitution that does not prevent the unscrupulous from looting the till? For a man whose children remain hungry, sick and uneducated, it is a meaningless piece of paper. The moral obligation to the downtrodden makes it incumbent for those in power to have the courage to use the authority vested in them to prevent corruption, otherwise they are as much culpable as those involved.

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