Embezzlement charges: FIA registers case against ETPB ex-chief

Published: October 27, 2013

The Rs1.93 billion scandal also involves DHA. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: 

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has registered a case against the former chairman of the Evacuee Trust Properties Board (ETPB), Asif Hashmi, and others implicated in a dubious deal between ETPB and Defence Housing Authority (DHA), which caused losses of Rs1.93 billion to the public exchequer, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Besides the former chairman, the list of accused includes former vice chairman Ahsan Jaffry, former secretary at the Ministry of Minorities Affairs Abdul Ghafar Soomro, joint secretary Zahir Shah, land and properties secretary Salim Masih, adminstrator Chaudhry Saeed Anwar, deputy administrator Asif Riaz Sheikh, former tehsildar Muhammad Siddique, 16 members of the board of directors, concerned officials of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and five citizens.

The case has been lodged against the accused in compliance with Supreme Court orders issued under Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act.

The names of the accused have been put on the exit control list to stop them from fleeing abroad and the ex-chairman’s bank accounts have already been frozen, sources said.

The contents of an FIA report stated that the ministry of minorities approved a 25% share of plots developed by DHA on the sold land. This was despite contradictory recommendations from the ETPB board which had a contractually agreed 33% share on a DHA offer on July 20, 2007. A payment was also made to an apparent ‘land mafia’ consisting of five citizens accused in the case, of Rs657.7m, causing huge losses to the ETPB.

The developments incurred a total loss of Rs1.934 billion to the ETPB and according to the FIA report reduction from 33% share to a 25% share of plots itself caused losses amounting to Rs972 million to ETPB.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2013.

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