LAHORE: PM Accountability Advisor Mirza Shahzad Akbar said on Thursday that over Rs2.30 billion has been recovered in the Punjab anti-graft drive in the last 27 months, about 532 percent higher than the amount recovered in the last 10 years.
Akbar said at a news conference attended by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, “The PTI-led Punjab government has made the Anti-Corruption Establishment [ACE] an autonomous institution and as a result, its performance has improved.”
The advisor found out that in the previous 10 years, only a total of Rs430 million was retrieved.
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He further disclosed that in the last two years, state lands worth Rs181 billion have been restored, a rise of 6,172 trillion compared to only Rs2.6 billion in the previous 10 years.
“During prior governments, the ACE remained under political control. Its performance has now greatly improved,” he added.
As the money will be invested on Sehat Insaf Cards, the Ehsaas initiative and the anti-Covid-19 campaign, the advisor said the individuals would be the direct beneficiaries of the recoveries made by ACE.
“He maintained, “The mafia who used to profit from those criminal acts will raise a hue and cry about this drive.
“The state and the people have first right over the lands of the state, and Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised that in the Centre or in any province they would not get any NRO,” he said.
“It would hold the plunderers responsible for their misdeeds.”
Giving information, Akbar said that 6,474 complaints were received through the Punjab government’s mobile Report Corruption app, of which 5,196 complaints were answered.
“This [mobile app] was a good initiative by the Punjab government, and it should also be introduced by other provinces.”
The advisor maintained that action against any plunderer would be taken and it was not an operation unique to the party.
He continued that in addition to disciplinary charges, fines would also be levied on those who controlled the lands of the state and received various benefits.
On another subject, he said the government of the PTI believed in self-accountability and would take action against all those who had plundered national resources.
He admitted to another investigation that the British government had been contacted because he was a suspect for the extradition of jailed former premier Nawaz Sharif.
The Punjab CM, speaking on the occasion, claimed that the PTI government had reformed the ACE.
“The government has taken action against the powerful mafia, which during the last 30 years has snatched away public resources and kept people deprived of even basic resources,” he said.
Buzdar said 51,050 complaints were received by the ACE, 11,488 investigations were held, 3,185 cases were reported and 3,904 offenders were arrested.
The Punjab CM maintained that prominent personalities held major roles, addressing the causes behind less recoveries in the past.
The agencies were kept under their control and national resources were also occupied,” he added.”
“The government retrieves and returns these resources to the people.”