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NAB arrests four Punjab govt officials in Ashiana housing scam

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested four more officers of Punjab government in Ashiana housing scam late Friday for their involvement in alleged financial irregularities.

According to the anti-graft body, the arrested officers will be presented before the accountability court today (Saturday) to get their physical remand. The officers include Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Chief Engineer Israr Saeed, Bilal Qadwai, Imtiaz Haider and Colonel (retd) Arif.

One of arrested officers, Qadwai had served as the economic specialist in Strategic Planning Unit for the housing scheme, the NAB officials said.

According to the NAB notice, an inquiry against officials of the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) and the LDA revealed that there is a prima facie evidence against Shahbaz Sharif, being the Chief Minister Punjab, for ordering certain illegal acts in sheer violation of the laid down procedures for functioning of PLDC due to which the company bore a huge financial loss.”

“Shahbaz had ordered cancellation of contract of Aashiana-e-Iqbal to a successful bidder, leading to award of the contract to other builder, which resulted into a loss of Rs 193 million approximately,” the notice reads.

He also directed PLDC to assign the project of Aashiana-e-Iqbal to LDA resulting into award of contracts to M/s Lahore Casa Developers (JV), thus causing loss of Rs 715 million approximately and ultimately failure of the project, according to the notice.

It says the chief minister had also directed PLDC to award consultancy services of Aashiana-e-Iqbal project for Rs 192 million approximately, but its actual cost was Rs 35 million.

Previously, the NAB officials had detained former Director General Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Ahad Cheema, besides Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bismillah Engineering Services Shahid Shafiq.

 

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