FIA finds massive irregularities in housing schemes

Published: November 4, 2018
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Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD .: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has found massive irregularities in various cooperative housing societies and private housing schemes scattered across the country.

In a report submitted to the Supreme Court after forensic audit of various housing societies, the FIA has said that housing societies have not cooperated with FIA’s Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) that sought record from them for conducting their audit.

The report says the JITs have so far been able to complete the forensic audit of 72% of the cooperative housing societies and 88% of the private housing schemes.

“A total of 631 cooperative housing societies are registered in Pakistan under the Cooperative Societies Act, 1925. Out of these 631 societies, 452 cooperative housing societies have been audited.

“Out of 452, only 51 have been found law-abiding. Whereas legal action has been recommended against rest of the societies by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the FIA and the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) according to the nature of the illegalities/ irregularities determined during audit,” says the report.

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According to the data in the FIA report, a total number of 3,186 private housing schemes are registered across the country out of which 2,814 have been audited.  Out of 2,814, only 248 have been found law-abiding whereas legal action has been recommended against rest of the schemes.

The progress report states that most of the cooperative housing societies have purchased on disputed/ controversial lands, without adopting the proper procedure and the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules.

It adds that a huge number of societies have extended their area illegally, and are marketing and selling the said area as part of the society, defrauding the general public.

In some instances, applications have been submitted for regularisation of such illegal extension while in many others not even such applications have been put forward. In many cases such extension are several times larger than the size of the actual society, according to the report.

“Likewise, booking and sale of plots is not regulated by any agency. As such, overbooking of plots is a common phenomenon, whereby ‘files’ for more plots are sold than the actual number of plots available with the society at low rates.

“The income generated in this manner is used for development of the society and then plots are allotted to some of the applicants through random balloting. Applicants not allotted plots are induced to keep their investment with the society, with promise of being accommodated in future projects,” it says.

According to the report, mortgaged plots are marketed and sold before being released from the regulator while encroachment on park, mosque, graveyard and public sites is very common. Layout plan is modified by the developers on their own without any approval from the regulator.

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Development reports are not provided to the regulator on-time, even after developmental work has been done and transfer deeds of mortgaged plots are not executed in favour the regulator.

“Revenue record is not updated when sale/purchase of property is made. Mutations in favour of new owners are not made and are sale is conducted on sale deed/sale of file alone.

“Most of the land purchased by the societies is not in a compact block form and is scattered over a large area making it impossible to develop a housing project. Most of the societies have so far not been able to consolidate their land holdings despite the lapse of 10-15 years since their registration,” it says.

The apex court has directed the FIA to complete audit within one month. Later, notices will be issued to societies to respond and the court will evolve mechanism regarding their regularisation.

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