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NAB grills PM’s principal secy in housing scheme scam

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s principal secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad on Friday appeared before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore to record his statement in a case pertaining to the alleged irregularities in Lahore’s Ashiana Housing Scheme.

The premier’s aide was questioned by the bureau’s combined investigation team (CIT) for about one and half an hour with regard to his alleged involvement in awarding a contract to a firm in violation of the relevant laws.

Earlier on January 22, the anti-graft body questioned Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the same case.

The chief minister has been accused of illegally meddling in the affairs of the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) that caused over Rs one billion loss to the national exchequer.

According to the NAB notice, an inquiry against officials of the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) and Lahore Development Authority (LDA) revealed that “prima facie Shahbaz Sharif, being the Chief Minister Punjab, had ordered 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.

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