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Special Assistant to PM on Accountability to visit UK

15 October, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar Sunday said that he would visit the United Kingdom (UK) this week to share the list of pending corruption cases and take up those cases with the UK authorities.

“We have increased pace to counter challenges such as money laundering and corruption in mega projects,” he told a press conference flanked by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Media Iftikhar Durrani here at the Press Information Department (PID)

Shehzad said an agreement with the UK government to reopen corruption cases was in place. “We have requested UK for cooperation on Ishaq Dar’s return though we do not have any agreement with them for the transfer or deportation of accused persons,” he said. “Pakistan has solicited details of 33 companies from the National Crime Agency,” he added.

He said the ratification of Swiss treaty for exchange of information, which would give Pakistan information on bank accounts, was supposed to be completed by 2013-14 but had been intentionally delayed. He said Pakistan had officially asked the German government for information. “Once it is received, we will be able to access information regarding accounts opened both in the past and in the future,” he added.

He said the overall debt of Pakistan has crossed Rs 30,000 billion. “Among the public-sector entities, PIA faces loss of Rs 400 billion and power sector Rs 1,200 billion. Similarly, Pakistan Railways and the Utility Stores Corporation are also facing losses. In total, public sector losses have crossed Rs1 trillion,” he said. “We inherited this economic crisis from the previous governments. Pakistan’s foreign debt of Rs 30,000 billion and economic problems are the result of faulty policies of previous regimes,” he added.

Taking a step forward to fulfill its promise of retrieving the ill-gotten wealth of Pakistanis stashed in foreign countries, Shahzad said the PTI government has formed a high-powered task force comprising officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as well as intelligence agencies. “Matters pertaining to corruption are not limited to the FIA anymore. A joint investigation team (JIT) is also looking into these cases,” he said, adding that the government was in talks with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China for possible agreements to bring back money taken out of the country through illegal channels.

The government would pursue any traces of black money, he said, and added, “We will contact the governments of all countries where we find traces of illegally transferred money.” He said that corruption in mega projects like Multan Metro Bus has surfaced. “Different accounts and fake companies were opened in the past on fake names. There is a private company but an investigation revealed that the owners are lower-grade employees. A street vendor’s account surfaced with Rs 2 billion transactions. Five transactions of Rs 2 billion were made in rickshaw owner Rashid’s account while Rs 800 million was transferred to a quilt seller’s account,” he lamented.

Replying to a question, Shahzad said NAB was an independent institution which had undergone complete overhaul after the appointment of Justice (r) JavedIqbal as its chairman.

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