Pakistan

NAB files over Rs 460 bln reference against Dr Asim

KARACHI: Pakistan’s corruption watchdog National Accountability Bureau has filed a reference against former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain and others in an accountability court for alleged corruption of over Rs 460 billion.

Former petroleum secretary Mohammad Ejaz Chaudhry and other four officials have also been named as co-accused.

The administrative judge of accountability courts in Karachi has accepted the NAB reference and fixed March 5 for hearing.

Dr Asim has been accused of misusing his authority for getting plots allotted fraudulently and encroaching upon state land for expansion of Dr Ziauddin Hospital, illegal gains, kickbacks and money laundering.

The former PPP minister has also been accused of receiving kickbacks from a fertiliser cartel for an “exploitative price hike”.

The NAB in its reference alleged that the former petroleum minister had deprived the state of Rs 462.5 bn including Rs 450 bn through the fertiliser scam, Rs 9.5 bn through land fraud and Rs 3 bn through money laundering.

The five others named in the reference as co-accused are former petroleum secretary Mohammad Ejaz Chaudhry, Abdul Hameed, administrator of Ziauddin Medical Centre, Dubai, Safdar Hussain, a former chief executive officer of the Karachi Dock Labour Board (KDLB), and former directors of the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) Syed Athar Hussain and Masood Haider Jaffri.

The reference said, Dr Asim had approved summaries for unjustifiable and arbitrary gas curtailment in the name of load management.

Ejaz Chaudhry allegedly facilitated the former minister by moving the summaries without rational consideration. Safdar Hussain was allegedly involved in illegal extension and award of KDLB contract in violation of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority rules and facilitated Dr Asim to take over the KDLB hospital and misuse it for private practices and referral facility. He also allowed the former minister to use KDLB premises for nursing accommodation and after retirement he joined Ziauddin Hospital as general manager human resources, the reference said.

The reference also alleged that the two former KDA directors had granted illegal lease of two acre KDA land in North Nazimabad and 2.8 acre in Clifton in favour of Dr Asim.

Another co-accused Abdul Hameed alleged of facilitating the main accused for illegal conversion, placement and integration of illegal money and converting it into assets abroad and in Pakistan.

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