ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Monday directed the Establishment Division to start detailed inquiry into glaring irregularities committed by ex-director land of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in allotment of plots to affected people of Kurri.

PAC chairman Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan during the meeting directed the newly appointed Secretary Establishment Abdul Rauf Chaudhry, previously holding charge of Cabinet Secretary, to constitute an inquiry committee into Kurri land scam within a week.

Ex chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Major General (R) Shahzada Alam also appeared before the PAC to respond to audit paras about irregularities and misuse of public money during his tenure.

CDA chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi told the PAC members that ex-Director Land Dr Waseem Shamshad and assistant director (acting deputy director) had been found guilty of not completing the formalities and without constructing the files issued 1,200 allotment letters in a matter of three days. “The inquiry committee comprising two CDA members concluded that all the allegations have been proved against the ex-director land and ex-acting deputy director,” CDA chairman told the PAC meeting.

The inquiry was forwarded to the Cabinet Division and Establishment Division. The ex-director land and rehabilitation Waseem Shamshad has been suspended by Establishment Division and similarly the acting deputy director has also been suspended by CDA chairman.

Waseem Shamshad, who was also asked to appear before the PAC meeting, pleaded innocent saying it is the deputy director who issues allotment letters and he was not involved in the process.

However, he admitted that the had taken the seal which is embossed on allotment letters, to his house to prevent its misuseby any official following court’s stay order against issuance of allotment letters. The official did not tell the PAC as to how the deputy director obtained the seal from him.

Member Estate Sultan Farooqi when asked to verify statement of ex-director land contradicted the same saying no allotment could be made without approval by the director.

CDA chairman while presenting a report before the committee said the procedure for allotment was not adopted and adhered to and hundreds of allotment letters had been issued without completing a single formality. “The official record had been taken home and official task like dispatch and embossing of allotment letters had been done through persons not authorized to do the same,” he said.

He said several anomalies arose at the time of implementation of the award. The then director land was made OSD when the scam came to his notice adding that he returned Islamabad after performing Hajj on November 20 and prompt action was taken within two days and all the allotment letters were also cancelled.

Member Administration Shaukat Mohmand who was also called to the meeting said that he had sent director security to house of ex director land for recovery of seal and other official record but every time, the residence was locked.

Rukhsana Bangash, a member of PAC asked whether Kurri scam qualifies as a criminal act while the Auditor General of Pakistan commented it was failure of internal control in CDA.

PAC chairman came harsh on CDA chairman for not providing the correct information at the last meeting about occupation of land at Malpur village. “The PAC was told that nothing happened at Malpur but when the Supreme Court took notice, the land was retrieved from the influential,” he said.

Ch Nisar observed that fear of God strikes the hearts of officials only when Supreme Court takes notice of cases. CDA chairman, however, contended that he stood by his statement which he gave at the earlier meeting.

To a query, the PAC was informed that the CDA had paid Rs1.1 billion to affected people of sector I-17 in 2008 and 2009 and the process of physical possession of the land had been started.

Chaudhry Nisar said the prime minister would be requested to direct retrieval of Islamabad land particularly in Malpur from influential people.

Going through the details of audit paras against ex-PTA chairman Major General (R) Shahzada Alam, the PAC chairman directed that names of the committee members be given who approved giving a new car on book value of Rs1.1 million whereas the actual price was Rs1.5 million when he was relieved of his office after six and half years.

The PAC members were astonished to hear that as many as 24 items including seven expensive laptop computers, four cell phones, diesel generator, colour printer, exercise machine worth Rs2.13 million were issued to ex-PTA chairman.

“What was the reason behind purchasing seven laptops? Did fault erupt in laptops after every six months?” Rukhsana Bangash asked Major General (R) Shahzada Alam who enjoyed trust of Pervez Musharraf to keep prized post of PTA chairman for six and a half years.

PTA chairman, however, said the telecom authority perhaps is the only autonomous body which was contributing Rs12 billion to Rs17 billion to national exchequer and collected license fee from mobile companies and other projects.

He said he had made payment of four laptops and two cell phones to PTA while other items were got issued by his office staff. He, however, admitted that he should not have purchased the exercise machine from PTA budget.

Chaudhry Nisar directed ex-PTA chairman to give his response to allegations against him in writing and furnish names of his personal staff members who got expensive electronic items issued against his name.

Major General (R) Shahzada Alam was also facing charges of irregular expenditure on purchase of vehicles worth Rs10.1 million.

The newly appointed Secretary Establishment said the autonomous bodies have their own rules and regulations and working conditions. “We are working on having uniformity in laws of all these organizations,” he said.

PAC chairman said the name of ex PTA chairman should be removed from Exit Control List (ECL) after he had appeared before PAC on his return from abroad. “I shall be available to appear before PAC whenever I am asked,” the ex chairman said.

Source: The News