–Bureaucracy, other influential people forcing ACE to slow down investigations: sources
LAHORE: The Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) is becoming inactive due to the pressure of bureaucracy among other influential people whereas the helpless officials of the accountability body are starting to reconsider their department, Pakistan Today learnt on Wednesday.
Credible sources in ACE told Pakistan Today that in the tenure of Hussain Asghar, former ACE director general, many cases of corruption and bribery were under investigation and due to his performance, the government was expected to give him an extension of three years on the same position after his retirement.
Sources said, “After the retirement of Hussain Asghar in February 2019, a summary for his extension and appointment as ACE director general on contract had been sent to Punjab chief minister but the government did not respond on it.”
“After Asghar’s retirement, investigation in several cases has been halted. The officials of ACE are facing pressure from bureaucracy and the influential to stop the investigations on corruption scandals. Officers, who are on deputation, are trying to go back to their departments while many are trying for their transfer,” he added.
“In the tenure of Hussain Asghar, which was just six months (Sep 2018- Feb 2019), almost Rs 56 billion had been recovered from the corrupt whereas Rs 957 million were recovered directly and Rs 1,664 million were recovered indirectly. After his retirement, there is no support for officers and they are now afraid by initiating any new inquiry.”
Sources called on the government to bring honest and straightforward officers in the department “otherwise the dream of corruption-free Pakistan cannot be fulfilled.”
While talking to Pakistan Today, ACE Director Muhammad Asghar Joiya said the officers are working hard to eradicate corruption and will not succumb to any pressure.
“Our officers are hard workers and they are focusing on how to eradicate corruption from the government departments. We are also working on different cases and neither pressure nor reference will be tolerable,” he said in a statement.