LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau Lahore (NAB) arrested former chief financial officer (CFO) of Punjab Power Development Company Limited (PPDCL) Ikram Naveed for allegedly embezzling Rs232 million.
On Saturday, he was presented before an accountability court that handed him over to the NAB on a 13-day physical remand for investigations.
Giving the grounds for arrest of the accused, the NAB said that the accused fraudulently and dishonestly made fudge payments to M/S Cosmic Consultants (a fake consultancy firm) and caused a loss of Rs232 million to the PPDCL.
The NAB said that during the investigation, they found out that the embezzled funds from government accounts were fraudulently transferred to bank accounts of his brother-in-law. The NAB claimed that their inquiry proceedings revealed that the accused has misappropriated funds and had acquired various assets in his own name and in the name of his family members. “He was also accused of procuring illegal pecuniary benefits through corrupt and dishonest means by misuse of authority with criminal intent.”
The inquiry into the corruption was first initiated by the department itself. It had been referred to the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), Auditor General and Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD) Punjab for the inquiry. The matter was investigated by the ACE. The ACE had indicted the accused in the case. Later, it was shifted to the NAB for investigation.
On April 27, 2016, an FIR under corruption, tempering and fraud charges was also registered at the ACE Lahore Region on the complaint of additional secretary energy department. The complainant in his complaint to anti-corruption had alleged that the company was defrauded by Ikram Naveed Ex-CFO PPDCL and Syed Farrukh Ali Shah (Ex-Chief Executive Officer (CEO), PPDCL) by colluding with Cosmic Consultants for funds amounting to Rs.34.9 million.
The complainant in the case had stated that Muhammad Bilal Butt, current CFO of PPDCL had sent a reference on April 2, 2016, and had mentioned that a sum of Rs172.7 million has been paid from account of the National Bank of Pakistan to M/s Cosmic Consultants, a shell company through four cheques signed by Syed Farrukh Ali Shah (Ex-CEO. PPDCL) and Shakeel Ahmad (Ex- Deputy Secretary (DS) Power, Energy Department) (Annex-A).
He added that after receipt of reference Butt (CFO, PPDCL), Ehsanul-Majeed (GM P&C, PPDCL) and Muhammad Yaqub (Advisor, PPDCL) were called, examined and their statements were recorded.
Butt verified the contents of reference sent by him and submitted documents in support of contentions mentioned in the reference. He came to the conclusion that misappropriation of Rs172.7 million has been committed by Syed Farrukh Ali Shah (Ex-PPDCL CEO), Shakeel Ahmad (Ex-DS Power) and Ikram Naveed (Ex PPDCL CFO) along with other beneficiaries, the complainant added.
He said that Ehsanul Majeed (GM P&C, PPDCL) stated that as per record Cosmic Consultants did not participate in any pre-qualification and procurement process. Furthermore, M/s Cosmic Consultants never provided any service to the PPDCL for which any payment was to be made to M/s Cosmic Consultants.
The NAB has also summoned Imran Yousuf, a relative of the Sharif family for investigations into the case.
Besides, the NAB is investigating the charges of corruption in 56 different public companies of the Government of Punjab.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2018.