Ashiyana scam: NAB arrests four more in housing project scam

Published: March 10, 2018
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Director General Ahad Khan Cheema suspended three officials from service. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Director General Ahad Khan Cheema suspended three officials from service. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has arrested four more in the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing Project scam on Friday.

The arrested were identified as Chief Engineer Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Israr Saeed, applied economic specialist appointed in the Special Policy Unit (SPU), Bilal Qudwai, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC), Imtiaz Ahmad, and a member of the project’s technical and financial evaluation committee Arif Majeed Butt.

A NAB spokesperson said that the detained officials will be presented before the accountability court for remand on Saturday.

Earlier, physical remand of EX-DG LDA, Ahad Khan Cheema and Shahid Shafiq, owner of Bismillah Engineering Company, given to the bureau was extended till March 20.

Cheema was accused of taking bribe and illegally awarding a contract to a company that did not fulfill the required criteria of being granted 30 kanals of land. While, Shafiq was accused of fraud for acquiring the Ashiyana project contract for his company Bismillah Engineering, even though the firm was not legally capable of doing so.

During the investigations, NAB has been analyzing every detail related to the accounts and properties of both Cheema and Shafiq. The accountability bureau is also evaluating their mobile and personal data, which has also been sent for forensic examination to the Punjab forensic surgery agency. Moreover, NAB has also reviewed all records of the housing scheme, PLDC and the Paragon housing society while also expanding the investigations to their relatives and social circle.

Previously, NAB had also interviewed Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif and Secretary to Prime Minister, Fawad Hassan as part of the ongoing inquiries.

The scam was originally brought to light after a massive number of protestors staged a sit-in and shared their grievances in a press conference against the Paragon housing society, which was formerly owned by federal minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq in 2014.

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