ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has issued an arrest warrant for the president of the Ministry of Commerce Employees Cooperative Housing Society (MOCECHS) on charges of corruption and corrupt practices in his capacity as the president of the society.
MOCECHS was launched in 1987, but remains incomplete after the passage of almost 30 years, leaving over 7,000 members lying in wait.
The delay has been blamed on alleged corruption by MOCECHS president Rana Ghulam Fareed, and MOCECHS Secretary Raja Adnan Aslam, who was also the additional legal adviser of the CDA – and several other members of the society.
NAB Rawalpindi director general issued the warrant on December 27 with directions to arrest Fareed and produce him before the court for authorisation of detention for a period necessary for finalisation of the case.
On January 4, a few members of the society wrote written a letter to the registrar Cooperative Housing Societies of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) submitting therein that the present managing committee of the society should be suspended in view of the NAB investigation and orders earlier passed by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in the case.
The members stated that the “president is an absconder”, and that the general secretary, a contractor and an engineer of the society have already been arrested by NAB.
In addition, they stated that the IHC’s division bench dismissed post-arrest bail applications of the general secretary and the contractor with the findings that “the accused violated rules, regulations and by-laws of the society deliberately and knowingly caused huge financial loss to the society and proved involved in corruption.”
They said that the presence of the members can cause tampering in the official records and further financial loss to 7,000 members of the society.
In the bail dismissal order for Aslam, the IHC bench noted that he was an advocate of the high court, also working as additional legal adviser of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) since 2013 and had not performed his duty, but rather misused his authority.
[It appears] the petitioner is involved in the entire loss caused to the society, which has been established on the basis of joint efforts of the members of MOCEHS for their own welfare,” the order stated.
Interestingly, Fareed had lodged an FIR against Aslam and his father with the Industrial Area police on February 20, 2012 on charges of cheating and forgery. In the FIR, Fareed had alleged that the father and son were allegedly accused of corruption of Rs 160 million.
The FIR was registered on the basis of an inquiry report of the ICT Saddar assistant commissioner which had recommended initiation of proceedings against the management committee for carrying out development work without any formal approval or NOC.
The issue surfaced after four members of the society, Ali Azam, Abdul Waheed, Asif Nadeem and Abdul Hameed, filed a complaint with the director general NAB stating therein that Fareed prepared “bogus” allotments of over 900 plots of the society “causing losses of over a billion rupees.”
The members have accused Farid, Aslam and several others of embezzlement and depriving thousands of people, including widows and orphans, from their legitimate right to have a place to live in after that paid for it decades ago.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2017.