NAB combating corruption and white-collar crime in Pakistan

Corruption plays havoc with the development of any country and slows down the healthy economic growth

United Nations Convention against Corruption UNCAC is a global treaty that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2003. It aims to promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption, as well as to promote the recovery of stolen assets.

NAB Pakistan, or the National Accountability Bureau of Pakistan, is an apex LEA Body established in 1999 with the aim of combating corruption and white-collar crime in Pakistan. 

Its main role is to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption, financial crimes, and other offenses that are within its jurisdiction through holistic approach of awareness, prevention & enforcement.

Pakistan is a signatory to the UNCAC, and as such, it is globally obliged to implement the provisions of the convention. The UNCAC and NAB both have pivotal roles in the global fight against corruption, promotion of transparency & accountability in public and private sectors and spreading awareness amongst the masses against the ill effects of this menace.

However in the recent wake of events in the country, number of amendments have been made to the NAO-1999 by The National Accountability (Amendment) Act-2022. The recent amendments have drastically changed the way NAB is functioning presently, but it is of crucial importance to keep in mind the certain implications which have made it all the more difficult to proceed in ongoing cases

It is imperative to discuss the international obligations being the signatory of UNCAC, wherein we are already compliant in first 2 chapters, however it seems apparently near to impossible to be compliant in the upcoming 2025 Review with such a feeble Accountability Law.

United Nations Convention Against Corruption is the only legally binding universal anti corruption instrument. UNCAC calls for strengthening of Accountability and Oversight Mechanisms, however with recently introduced amendments in NAB Law, it seems that the obligation towards international community is not being fulfilled in its true letter and spirit and we might find it hard to pass the upcoming cycle of UNCAC implementation review of Pakistan.

Moreover without strict laws, effective prosecution wouldn’t be possible in Money Laundering cases under AMLA,2010, hence being another impediment towards FATF regulations. Nations with the passage of time has managed to develop strict Anti corruption laws and regulations to combat this harmful threat. Corruption plays havoc with the development of any country and slows down the healthy economic growth.

In order to curb the root cause of this evil, NAB has been playing its pivotal role by spreading awareness amongst all the walks of life I.e students, civil society etc and displays the message and slogan of ‘ say no to corruption’ & ‘ our faith, corruption free Pakistan’ everywhere.

Pakistan is one of the significant decliners on the 2022 CPI With a score of 28 out of 100 – its lowest since 2012 – the country is experiencing a downwards trend. Political turmoil has rocked the nation and the government must take concrete steps to fulfil anti-corruption promises.  

NAB keeps reviewing the already set systems and mechanism in place where possibility of loop hole may cause or lure in someone for committing this heinous crime through its prevention regime and ensure these preventive measures during the procurement and bidding process etc . It is imperative to discuss here that parliament has recently table another amendment in the NAO 1999, which shall also become part of the statue. 

In the upcoming review of UNCAC the recent amendments shall be put to test that either they are compliant with the resolution of UNCAC or otherwise. Another ray of hope is that there recent amendments have also been challenged in the apex court of law, who shall also decide upon these amendments.

The writer is an Government Officer and a public relations practitioner.

The writer is a government officer and a public relations practitioner. He can be reached at 

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