AUG 20, 2018: According to a report submitted by the NAB prosecutor in the Supreme Court today, 54 CEOs and officials of 56 public-sector private companies in Punjab had withdrawn a total of Rs520 million in salaries during the last provincial setup.
The NAB prosecutor told the court that at least 34 officials who received high salaries were ready to return the money.
The apex court ordered all officials who had withdrawn market-based salaries in addition to their regular pay, to return the extra money within three months.
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar was hearing a case on the payment of high salaries to Punjab government officials appointed as heads of 56 public-sector private companies.
At an earlier hearing Justice Nisar had observed that the returned salaries of the companies’ heads would be deposited to the fund established for construction of dams in the country.
“Misuse of public money cannot be allowed,” the chief justice had said and added that the government hospitals were shot of medicines and officers were enjoying luxuries.
Last November, kicking off its drive against corruption, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) initiated inquiry into multiple charges against these companies established by the Punjab government under CM Shehbaz Sharif’s tenure.
Some of the prominent companies included Punjab Saaf Pani Company, Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company, Lahore Transport Company, Lahore Waste Management Company, Lahore Parking Company, Multan Cattle Market Management Company, Punjab Livestock and Dairy Development Board, and waste management companies in various cities across the province.
Majority of the waste management contracts of the said companies have been awarded to Turkish firms, but the record of their contracts was missing.
It is alleged that there exists no report on financial and performance audit of these companies, not even with the Punjab finance minister. The heads of these companies were not appointed through advertisement, but on pick and choose basis while other staffers were also recruited in a similar fashion.
These companies signed several contracts with private firms and that too in an ambiguous manner and by bypassing competition rules, according to the petitioner.