Karachi: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Karachi held an “Awareness Seminar on Corruption & Accountability” at the Gani Tayub (G&T) Auditorium, IBA main campus. The Director General (DG) NAB Karachi, Mr. Mohammad Altaf Bawany, was invited as a representative from NAB to conduct an informative session on anti-corruption and accountability. Among other attendees were Executive Director, Dr, Farrukh Iqbal, Associate Dean, Dr. Huma Baqai, the IBA faculty, staff and students.
Mr. Bawany briefed the audience by defining the term corruption to give an overview of the concept. He referred to the definition of corruption by National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) and explained it’s nature, “A behavior on the part of public office holders in the public and private sectors whereby they improperly and unlawfully enrich themselves or/and those close to them or induce others to do so, by misusing the position they occupy. Simply corruption is the misuse of entrusted power for private benefit”.
Moreover, he elaborated the global dynamics of corruption and said, “It badly affects the overall economy by increasing the cost of business, distorting market mechanism like fair competition and deters domestic and foreign investment. Each year 20-40% of the development budget is stolen through high-level corruption, placing Pakistan at 117th, in rank, out of 180 countries on the corruption index.”
Mr. Bawany observed that the option of plea bargain was available to the ‘accused’ but that it has its own benefits and consequences. Benefits include substantial recovery of ill-gotten benefits from the accused and saving of state expenditures on investigation, trial and appeals. Consequences include disqualification from holding public office for 10 years and payment of all illegal benefits derived from the offence.
Dr. Iqbal underscored the importance of removing corruption from the top leadership of a country by making a critical distinction between developing countries with a successful development model and those that are still underdeveloped. He said, “The difference between successful developing countries and those that are still struggling in terms of development is the quality of leadership in their country. This issue of quality leadership applies in all areas of governance including anti-corruption and transparency”.
The address was followed by a question and answer session between the students and Mr. Bawany, in which the students raised issues related to filing references against corrupt individuals, money laundering, the impact of good governance on NAB, the procedure for legal action against accused army officials and the acquittal of accused persons.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Iqbal thanked Mr. Bawany for coming back to his ‘alma mater’, the IBA, and addressing the students on the issue of quality governance. He also noted that the quality leadership is key to ensure eradication of corruption and pave way for economic development free from unnecessary hurdles.
The event concluded with Dr. Iqbal and Dr. Baqai presenting Mr. Bawany with a token of appreciation.