LAHORE: Ayesha Mumtaz, famous for taking stern action against the providers of substandard food is likely to be investigated in a corruption inquiry being carried out by the Special Branch, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The branch is investigating overall malpractice in the workings of the authority.
The Special Branch Police, via a letter earlier this month, asked the Punjab Food Authority to provide them with names of officers involved in malpractices. The inquiry, according to the details in the letter sent to PFA, began with a junior employee of the authority, who in a short span of time, reportedly accumulated Rs5 million worth of property during his tenure. The junior employee, according an official of PFA, was suspected to be the front man of former PFA Director Operations Ayesha Mumtaz in her alleged corruption.
This inquiry was initiated on the request of Punjab Food Authority Director General Noorul Amin Mengal, who wrote a letter each to the Anti-Corruption Establishment and Punjab Police Special Branch in November, a month after taking charge at PFA. The Special Branch initiated an inquiry to probe the alleged corruption of the junior employee.
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According to the aforesaid letter, a driver named Muhammad Arshad of the Punjab Food Authority currently owns a house worth Rs3 million back in Patoki and two cars, including a van that he gives out on rent. He also owns of a mobile phone worth Rs70,000 to 80,000.
Driver Muhammad Arshad worked not only with the former DG Asad Islam Mahani, but also Ayesha Mumtaz. According to the content of the letter, he was still in continuous contact with both his bosses.
He was also allegedly involved in stealing 100 expensive bags of milk out of 500 that were confiscated by PFA some time back. The covering letter also asked the authority to provide the names of officers involved in malpractice.
According to the source, a renowned media anchor was also suspected to be the front man of Ayesha Mumtaz. He revealed that either the anchor or the driver were approached after a raid for de-sealing.
He said Ayesha Mumtaz, despite the instructions of the court, took the anchor along with her on major raids. The source claimed that that the airing of PFA action against eateries made Ayesha Mumtaz a hero and destroyed the reputation of the said restaurant.
Sources in the provincial government revealed PFA DG Mengal was tasked with the mission of cleaning up the PFA. He said that was the very reason Ayesha Mumtaz went on 104 days of leave immediately after Noorul Amin took charge as DG. He said both had a difference over the de-sealing of a factory against which Ayesha Mumtaz wanted more stern action. However, the DG opposed her views.
He said the two had another disagreement over the proceedings of a court case. The source said it was a known fact that many senior government officials were unhappy over the director operations’ fearless way of working. He said she raided factories that many would not even dare to enter.
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However, he said that by investigating her driver, they actually started an inquiry actually against her and were collecting proof. He said the DG has also checked with the business community of the city to get more insight of the “trio”.
Director General Punjab Food Authority Noorul Mengal confirmed authorities concerned were approached to launch an inquiry against corrupt elements in PFA. He added they received information about some officers involved in malpractices.
He said to counter this, a policy has been devised to stop an officer raiding alone. The DG added he cannot comment on the integrity of Ayesha Mumtaz, but an investigation found that her driver was involved in corruption.
He dispelled the impression that he was brought in to counter Ayesha Mumtaz. However, he did state that it was his He responsibility to check any wrongdoings in the authority.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2017.