SC to resume Punjab companies case hearing on Oct 23

Published: October 22, 2019
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A view of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Islamabad. PHOTO: REUTERS

A view of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Islamabad. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: After a long hiatus, the Supreme Court is all set to resume the hearing of the case of alleged mega corruption up to Rs80 billion in 56 companies on October 23.

A division bench has been formed to hear the alleged corruption case. The bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, will conduct the hearing of the case.

The SC’s registrar office has issued notices to all concerned parties, including Punjab chief secretary, National Accountability Bureau, Lahore director general, advocate general, Punjab, Lahore Waste Management Company managing director, Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Company manager, Lahore Parking Company CEO and others.

In April, the National Accountability Bureau recovered Rs1 billion in the mega corruption case and submitted the amount with the provincial exchequer.

Former chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had forwarded the case to NAB.

On June 3, 2018, the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had reprimanded outgoing Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif after he failed to satisfy the court regarding the hiring and payment of high salaries to government officials appointed as heads of 56 companies.

“You were the custodian of the national exchequer. On which basis were government officers hired against salaries of Rs2.5 million each?” the then chief justice asked Shehbaz.

Shehbaz had apprised the court that it was not him but the relevant authorities who had appointed the chief executives, adding that the appointments had been made on merit.

Nisar rejected the statement, questioning the merit of the appointments and asking why such hefty amounts were being paid to government officers. “We are not satisfied with you answer,” said Nisar.

The corruption case surfaced towards the end of 2017 wherein the Lahore High Court had issued notices to the heads of the 56 companies and sought clarification from them.

Several questions were raised, but the glaring one was “how can a secretary become a company’s head and withdraw double salary” asked by the then LHC Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah.

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