Wednesday, January 19, 2022

NAB finalizes list of witnesses against Shehbaz in Ashiana reference

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LAHORE: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has finalised the list of witnesses against Shehbaz Sharif in Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme Scandal, ARY News reported on Tuesday.

A list comprising 29 witnesses includes Governor State Bank Tariq Bajwa, approvers and six officials of the anti-graft watchdog body.

Former chairman of Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) Tahir Khursheed and Chief Engineer Arif Majeed Butt have turned as approver against Shehbaz Sharif in the scandal.

The list prepared by NAB’s prosecution team will record their statement against Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in Ashiana housing scheme scam.

The process of recording of statements will commence after handing over the copies of the reference filed against Shehbaz Sharif to them [witnesses] on January 3rd.

Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme scam

Mr Sharif, who previously served as Punjab chief minister for two consecutive terms, has been accused of misusing his authority to illegally issue directives for cancellation of contract with regard to the housing project in 2014.

In March 2014, the former chief minister visited the Ashiana-e-Iqbal project site and halted its bidding process, according to the reference.

The Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) was looking after the project, but Mr Sharif after visiting the site decided to assign the project to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) which resulted in award of contract to the Lahore Casa Developers (JV), causing Rs715m loss to the exchequer, the reference reads.

The NAB had arrested Shehbaz Sharif in the scam on October 5 inside its Lahore office when he appeared there in response to it’s summon for questioning in connection with a probe into the Saaf Pani Company scam.

According to NAB, “the contract for the housing scheme was won by a construction company titled Chaudhry Latif and Sons but former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif and his aides awarded the Rs 14 billion contract to Lahore Casa Developers – a proxy group of Paragon City (Pvt) Limited, which is said to be owned by Railways Minister Saad Rafique”.

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