ISLAMABAD Taking strict notice of the sinister campaign launched to malign National Accountability Bureau on one pretext or the other, some officials in the Department said that despite heavy odds, the NAB was serving the national cause by making quite influential people to cough up billions of rupees looted from the national exchequer. The officials who did not want to be named said that NAB was not exceeding its statutory limits while dealing with all its matters be it the handling of the corruption cases or handling of the retrieved looted money from the corrupt persons. Brushing aside the charges levelled against the Department for misusing the recovered money from the looters and plunders of national wealth, these officials said that the allowances and honoraria granted to the NAB employees from time to time were very much legal and within the statutory limits of the Department. They further said that the factual position was that payments and privileges accorded to NAB employees in compliance with the National Accountability Bureau (Recovery and Reward Rules) 2002. Section 33-A of the NAO says, There may be paid bonuses or ex gratia (Payments) to the officers and staff of the NAB, other government servants, public servants and rewards to members of public for rendering commendable services in detection, investigation and prosecution of {any offence under this Ordinance} as may be prescribed by the rules. Some other sources in the Department informed that certain elements in the Government and belonging to those who had to cough up the looted money were behind the campaign against the Department as they did not want to see a Department, which would ask them about their ill-gotten money in future as well. It was due to this reason that they were levelling baseless allegation against the Department to tarnish its image in the public and facilitate its windup and replacement with a toothless accountability mechanism, which would suit well to certain privileged ones. Awarding of special allowances or reward from the recovered amount was not new as most of the departments have similar rules for welfare and encouragement of their employees e.g. special allowance equal to one month pay in addition to normal allowances has been granted to the Motorway Police. Payment of special allowance equal to 100 percent of pay to the officers and officials posted in large tax payer unit in Lahore and medium tax-payer unit in Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Faisalabad. Similar allowances are paid to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, OGRA, NESCOM, the National Assembly Secretariat and Senate Secretariat. All the government organisations such as Coast Guards, Customs and Rangers departments pay extra allowances and rewards to their employees from recoveries made by them on case to case basis with a view to encourage efficiency and keep up the morale of the employees. The NAB Reward Fund was established with due approval of the Finance and Law Divisions. Section 4 of these rules say that there shall be the NABs Recovery and Rewards Fund which shall consist of the NAB share in the recovered amount as approved by the Finance Division. The rules say that the NABs Recovery and Rewards Fund shall be utilised for hiring of experts or consultants, development of national strategy on eradication of corruption, purchase of equipments and transport, bonus or ex gratia for extraordinary performance and reward for informers. Only 20 percent of the NAB share was also made available for undertaking welfare measures for NABs employees and the same has been done. The rules provide an elaborate procedure for the sanction of rewards, ex gratia payments and admissible financial help in deserving cases like marriages of low paid employees, death, education, etc. There is a seven-member committee consisting of Deputy Chairman, a director general and concerned directors to make recommendations to the Chairman for this purpose.