NAB Files Corruption References Against NESPAK, LDA, Former PM Gillani and Owais Tappi

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NAB has also summoned Pakistan Mulsim League –Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif on Aug 20 in relation to the Ashiana housing scheme scandal

AUG 1, 2018: The executive board of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) held a meeting on Wednesday during which go-ahead was given for an inquiry against employees of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and the management of Nespak — the country’s largest and premier engineering and consulting firm headquartered in Lahore operating and as an autonomous body under the SECP and Company’s Act.

Individuals from Nespak and LDA have been accused of exploiting their positions for illegal gains in Lahore’s Orange Line Metro Train Project leading to losses of Rs4 billion (US$35 million approx).

The board meeting, which was held at NAB’s headquarters in Islamabad, was presided over by the accountability bureau’s chairman, retired Justice Javed Iqbal.

Approval was also granted for the filing of various references, including a corruption reference against former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani.

The former prime minister, former secretary of Information Technology Farooq Awan, former press information officer (PIO) Muhammad Saleem, former company secretary of Universal Service Fund Syed Hasan Sheikh, the CEO of advertising agency Midas (Pvt) Ltd Inam Akbar and several other individuals from the Ministry of Information Technology were named in the corruption references.

The aforementioned individuals are accused of misusing their authority to illegally grant Midas an advertising contract in contravention of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules.

The act is reported to have cost the national treasury Rs129.07 million.

Additionally, the board also granted approval for the launch of investigations in four different cases against former president Asif Ali Zardari’s foster brother, Owais Muzaffar alias Tappi, who was the Sindh local bodies’ minister.

Other Sindh government officials named in connection with the same investigations include former Sindh chief secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas, and the Sindh Land Utilization Department’s former secretaries Ghulam Mustafa Phul and Ghulam Abbas Soomro.

These individuals are said to have abused their authority to illegally allot several hundred acres of land by the Malir river, which has reportedly cost the national treasury Rs33 billion (US$275 million).

NAB has also summoned Pakistan Mulsim League –Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif in relation to the Ashiana housing scheme scandal, Geo News reports citing sources.

According to the media outlet, the PML-N president has been ordered to appear before the accountability bureau on August 20 for the hearing of Ashiana housing scandal as well as the Punjab power company case.

Shehbaz has previously appeared before NAB in the case while former Lahore Development Authority chairman Ahad Cheema is on judicial remand after having been arrested over the case.

Last month the accountability bureau arrested senior bureaucrat Fawad Hassan Fawad in various corruption cases, including the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case.

Sources also revealed that Shehbaz was summoned after revelations made by Fawad during interrogation.

NAB says then Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his aides awarded Rs14 billion (US$117 million) contract for Ashiana project to Lahore Casa Developers — a proxy group of Paragon City (Pvt) Limited, which is said to be owned by Railways Minister Saad Rafique.

The NAB chairman, according to Dawn, said that the bureau not only considers the eradication of corruption its national responsibility, but its officers are tirelessly working towards a “corruption free Pakistan”.

He provided assurances that investigations into all cases will be carried out on the basis of law, merit, transparency, and concrete evidence and within the stipulated time.

Justice Iqbal said that NAB has always strictly followed its “accountability for all” policy and will continue to do so, adding that the bureau’s first and last association has and will always remain with Pakistan and its citizens.

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