ACE registers case against officials for illegal extraction

Officers of Mines and Minerals Department charged with misusing authority to extract gold

​ Our Correspondent September 18, 2019

LAHORE: Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) claimed to have foiled an attempt to illegally extract gold by a private contractor company in connivance with certain officers of the Mines and Minerals Department.

Reportedly, the ACE has booked the officers of the Mines and Minerals Department on charges of misusing authority to extract gold from the Indus River with the contractors. An FIR has been registered against former Mines and Minerals Department director general Zafar Javed and former deputy director Rashid Latif. Other accused persons include manager Rafiullah Khan, manager Rizwan Saqib Bajwa, geologist Usman Ali and contractor Mukhtar Ahmad.

ACE Director General Muhammad Gohar Nafees formed a committee, headed by the deputy director technical, to probe the matter.

According to details obtained by The Express Tribune, the DG received a complaint that certain officers of the Mines and Minerals Department had awarded a contract to a company for the formation of a new zone. The zone was established at an area near Indus River where gold particles are abundant.

Rawalpindi ACE regional director investigated the matter and, during the inquiry proceedings, he found that the creation of a new zone for gravel and sand is illegal, unjustified and in violation of relevant rules and regulations. Reportedly, the creation of the zone was undertaken to pave the path for extraction of gold.

The inquiry revealed that the price of the newly created zone was reduced from Rs303,370,000 to Rs100,000,000. Details of the inquiry also revealed that the reduction in price and a lack of justified calculations aimed to give undue benefit to the contractor company.

This is not the first incident of illegal authorisation and illegal use of land. Sahiwal ACE investigated and found a similar practice of the occupation of public parks by land grabbers. Land measuring six kanals and 11 marlas and worth Rs327.5 million was retrieved in Sahiwal City. The land was officially designated for Kanaan Park in Sahiwal. However, land grabbers were illegally using it for a private taxi stand.

ACE Director General Muhammad Gohar Nafees said that this land will be made part of the park. He condemned the practice and said, “Unfortunately, greedy people do not even spare public parks.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2019.


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