ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) head office has closed an investigation against seven members of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly at the alleged behest of the provincial administration.
The MPAs were reportedly allotted plots by the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) in 2009-10 in Peshawar. The plots, which are located in the posh township of Hayatabad, were allotted at very nominal rates to the beneficiaries, who in turn sold them for enormous profit.
The seven legislators from Awami National Party were allotted these 500-square-yard plots by PDA’s director general on the directives of the chief minister after the lawmakers claimed they needed safer accommodation from their militant-hit hometown of Swat. According to the Peshawar Development Authority’s rules and procedures, which are laid down by the prime minister, the plots in question are meant for public auction.
A senior official of NAB, Zafar Iqbal told The Express Tribune the case was closed after the provincial cabinet of K-P regularised these allotments.
However, another official from the bureau claims the decision was made after a senior administrator in Islamabad was approached by K-P Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti. According to him, the chief minister says he is entitled to make such allotments.
The beneficiaries are two provincial ministers Muhammad Ayub Khan Asharee and Wajid Ali, and five MPAs Jafar Shah, Shershah Khan, Waqar Ahmed Khan, Dr Shamsher Khan and Dr Haider Ali.
An official report reveals that PDA’s Director General Qazi Ahmed Laiq and a few other senior functionaries of the development authority used the opportunity to get similar plots for themselves also.
NAB had initiated its inquiry after an audit report raised questions about the legality of these allotments. The provincial audit’s director pointed out that as per the prime minister’s directives, the federal and provincial discretionary quota of jobs, allotment of plots, admission in schools and colleges, and grants for scholarships, have been abolished. This means the chief minister is not entitled to allot plots at his discretion.
The audit report further states that the MPAs did not deposit the required capital value tax collectively amounting to Rs3.92 million, while the PDA officials evaded the same tax to the tune of Rs4.48 million.
A source in the PDA said the MPAs paid around Rs0.7 million for each plot and then sold them for as much as Rs9 million.
One of the beneficiaries, provincial minister for information technology, Ayub Asharee maintains such allotments are quite usual and also made by former administrators of the province. “The chief minister is the competent authority to allot plots. Yes, I was also allotted a plot which I sold for Rs7.2 million. I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
The chief minister also allotted free plots to the widows of former deputy inspector general of Peshawar police Malik Saad Khan and former inspector general of Northern Areas police Sakhiullah Khan.
Published in The Express Tribune, 25th, 2012.
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