The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has recovered Rs. 2.071 billion under anti-corruption law during the last three years.
This was revealed by an FIA official while briefing the sub-committee of the National Assembly Standing committee on interior, which met with Mohammad Yousaf Talpur in the chair. The committee discussed the prevention of corruption (amendment) bill 2019 moved by Sher Akbar Khan, MNA.
The FIA official said that 1,928 corruption cases were registered during the last three years including 752 in 2017, 701 in 2018 and 575 in 2019 so far. He added that 1,659 cases were issued a challan and 506 resulted in incarceration.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s anti-corruption department informed the committee that 73 FIRs were registered in 2016, 105 in 2017, 51 in 2018 and 49 in 2019. 39 people were convicted in 2018 while 10 were convicted in 2019. Punjab did not share the data, saying that they couldn’t collect it as they were short on time.
Representatives from Sindh and Balochistan did not attend the meeting as the committee meeting’s notice was issued too late according to the Joint Secretary Interior.
Prevention of Corruption (Amended) Bill 2019 Passed
A parliamentary panel has passed The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2019, proposing up to 10-year imprisonment with the objective to control corruption and make the existing laws more effective.
A subcommittee of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior met with Mohammad Yousaf Talpur in the chair here and considered ‘The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2019,’ moved by MNA Sher Akbar Khan.
The mover said that corruption threatens economic development, destabilizes society and jeopardizes the rule of law. Public resources are meant for social welfare and to provide basic facilities like health, education and to develop infrastructure. These resources are being stolen through corrupt practices, increasing poverty and the suffering of citizens. Corruption weakens service delivery, damages the reputation of the country and hinders foreign direct investment.
Khan further said that to control corruption and to make the existing laws on the prevention of corruption more effective, punishments should be increased.
The mover of the bill had proposed an amendment of section 2, section 5, section 5-B, 5-C to Act II of 1947 and proposed a maximum of 25-year imprisonment as punishment.
The Interior Ministry maintained that The Prevention of Corruption Act 1947 is the first law of Pakistan applicable to public servants for their criminal misconduct. Although corruption is the root cause of most ills in this country, the proposed punishments seem harsh and exaggerated as no rationale has been provided for the proposed enhancement.
Section 4 of the prevention of corruption act 1947 says that:
The provision of this section shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of any, other law for the time being in force, and nothing contained herein shall exempt any public servants from any proceedings which might apart from this section, be instituted against him.
Law Ministry supported the increase in punishment saying it will improve deterrence but 25 years is too much. Later the committee passed the bill while proposing a maximum punishment of up to 10 years.