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Shehbaz Sharif distributed taxpayers’ Rs300billion among friends, relatives: Chohan

LAHORE: Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan on Friday accused former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif of distributing taxpayers’ money among his relatives and friends in the name of Saaf Pani project.

Addressing a press conference at the Directorate General Public Relations, the minister claimed that at least Rs300billion were embezzled in the name of Saaf Pani project.

“This Saaf Pani Company was established in 2014 with an aim to provide clean drinking water in rural areas and with an initial cost of Rs300billion and was to be completed in April 2018, but even after four years and embezzlement of billions of rupees, the project could not provide a drop of clean water to the people of rural areas,” said Chohan.

He also claimed that PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal’s brother Mujtaba Jamal, Zaeem Qadri’s brother Asim Qadri, Munir Chaudhry and Qamar ul Islam Raja were Shehbaz’s accomplices in the “scam”.

“Shehbaz Sharif approved the most expensive water filtration system in violation of rules, despite the fact that experts have said that Stand Alone System is expensive and it will cost additional billions of rupees but Shehbaz Sharif approved the expensive project to favour his close aides,” said Chohan.

He maintained that Shehbaz Sharif also hired the most expensive international consultant and caused a loss of millions of rupees to the national exchequer by sending his favourites to foreign tours for selecting the consultant.

“Mujtaba Jamal, brother of PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, was appointed the first board chairman of the project. Shehbaz Sharif’s front man Munir Chaudhry and Raja Qamar-ul-Islam were also appointed for the project for embezzlement,” claimed the minister.

He added that the contract was given to a foreign company in violation of rules and the project was further divided into two categories PSP north and PSP south for the purpose of adjusting favourite bureaucrats in the project and awarding them exuberant salaries.

“It is on record in the minutes of all the meetings of the project that Shehbaz Sharif directed that no contract, transfer/posting would be made without his prior approval. The minister said that national resources were plundered and 300 billion rupees of the people were embezzled in the project,” Chohan concluded.

It is pertinent to note here that earlier in the day, Shehbaz Sharif who appeared before National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Saaf Pani Company case was arrested by the bureau in the Rs14 billion Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case.

He will be produced before an accountability court for remand tomorrow. He will be kept in a highly-secured lock-up inside the NAB Lahore office until his appearance in court.

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