Fazaia Housing scam victims to get refund

6,000 allottees were cheated of Rs16 billion


Our Correspondent April 24, 2020
PHOTO: FAZAIA HOUSING SCHEME

KARACHI: The Pakistan Air Force (PIA) management and its joint venture partner, Ch Tanveer Builder of the Maxim Group, have agreed to refund the claims of 6,000 allottees of the Fazaia Housing schemes, amounting to Rs16 billion with immediate effect.

The announcement came after the allottees, including general public and armed forces personnel, were cheated by the PAF management and its partner, who illegally collected more than Rs16 billion from them, according to documents available with The Express Tribune.

The case had already been on the radar of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The country’s premier graft buster had taken over an amount of Rs13.5 billion by freezing the joint venture account, one of the documents suggested.

It said that both the PAF and the Maxim would “pay Rs3 billion as remaining liability of accused to NAB for 100% refund to the affectees”, adding that “assets worth Rs6 billion in shape of land and machinery/assets at site will remain in NAB custody as collateral against liability of Rs3 billion”.

The Fazaia Housing Scheme, according to a report, was a plan to build 8,400 residential units for the families of the martyrs. However, contrary to the purpose of the housing scheme, only 30 residential units were allotted to the families of the martyrs.

Also the scheme, in Deh Allah Phihai, Taluka Shah Mureed, Deh Taiser, Scheme 45, was not approved by the authorities concerned and all the constructions there were carried out illegally. The layout plan was also not submitted for town planning point of view in Malir Development Authority.

As a result, the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) issued a show-cause notice to the relevant PAF official, regarding the illegal constriction of bungalows and flats and directed for stopping all sorts of construction and sale and booking activities immediately.

According to the law, the owner/builder of the project has to submit proposed building plan along with the relevant ownership/title documents. A no-objection certificate (NOC) is also required from utility agencies, which the PAF had not obtained.

In this regard, the Supreme Court took a suo motu notice and sought details of the matter. In compliance with the order, the Mukhtiarkar, Bin Qasim Town, on September 19, 2013 provided details to the deputy commissioner, Malir, regarding the occupation of the government land.

The Mukhtiarkar informed that the PAF illegally occupied 65 acres of land from NC No 24 in Deh Dih, saying that the occupied land was of A-1 category and its value as per gazette notification dated June 29, 2011 was Rs30 million per acre.

In addition, 50 acres of land in Deha Jorgi, from NC No 344 and from Naqboli No 241, was in the illegal possession of the PAF, on one side of which the PAF built a boundary wall, while cemented pillars on three other sides. This occupied land was also of category A and as per gazette notification dated June 29, 2011, its value was Rs8 million per acre.

Earlier on April 2, 2011, the Mukhtiarkar, Bin Qasim Town, had informed the additional district officer (Revenue) IV, collector Malir zone, City District Government Karachi, that the photocopies received from Air Vice Marshal Arshad Quddus, Air Officer Commanding, Southern Air Command, the land measuring 154-38 acres of Deh Joreji of the PAF authorities were not entered in the record of rights.

“Therefore, this office is not in a positon to treat them as valid documents for allowing mutation in the record of rights as such and submitted herewith for passing appropriate orders,” the Mukhtiarkar said his letter, adding that the proper location of the land without joint demarcation and identification of position by PAF cannot be confirmed.

“It will be very appropriate to conduct physical joint demarchation through Survey Superintendent, Karachi in pressence of all parties, hence the Survey Superintendent, Karachi and PAF Authorities may be directed for conducting joint demarcation in order to identify proper acreage of land under possession of PAF Authorities.”

Earlier this month, the NAB authorities informed an accountability court that a reference in the Rs18 billion Fazaia Housing Scheme land scam would be filed after getting approval from the NAB chairman. It said that suspects, Tanvir Ahmed and Bilal Tanvir, of the Maxim Properties had been arrested on charges of cheating the public in 2015.

According to NAB investigation into the matter, records obtained from the Sindh Chief Minister House showed that the PAF had applied for expulsion from the Fizaia Housing Scheme Karachi of all operations of SBCO-1979.

A NAB report stated that the principal secretary to the Sindh chief minister replied on January 10, 2017 that the chief minister, through a summary approved on the same day, had allowed concessions on allotment of residences only to the families of martyrs.

During the investigation, it came to light that the PAF had started this project in the name of rehabilitation of war heroes and families of martyrs. “The record shows that there was a plan to build 8,400 residential units out of which only 30 residential units were allotted to the families of the martyrs, which is against the purpose of this housing scheme,” the NAB report added.

Meanwhile, the Maxim Properties sent a legal notice to the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Housing and Projects) and Directorate of State Projects, PAF, for the breach of contract. The legal notice had been sent through Barrister Salahuddin Ahmed.

The notice stated that the Maxim Properties and the Directorate of State Projects (DTEP), PAF, made an agreement for the development and establishment of the construction project, the Fazaia Housing Scheme, Karachi, on January 16, 2015.

“There were repeated violations of the agreement by the DTEP, which our client kept pointing out, but these violations were not rectified. In this regard, our client sent an Arbitration Notice on April 29, 2019, asking to rectify the breach of the agreement made with DTEP within sven days,” it said.

“The DTEP neither addressed the violations nor responded to the arbitration notice, after which our client filed miscellaneous application No 44/2019 in Sindh High Court for removal and appointment of Arbitrator,” it added. “After filing a petition in the apex court, the DTEP launched a vicious campaign against the Maxim Properties.”

According to the notice, the allottees of the Fazaia Housing Scheme staged a protest on November 18, 2019 outside the project management office of the housing scheme. A video made during that time, showed that “false statements” were made against Maxim Properties, the notice said.

“The protesters were (wrongly) told that the money they had deposit[ed] was in a joint account, and it was unfortunate that they (PAF) had chosen wrong and shameless people who hurt not only you (people) but also us (PAF) as an institution,” the notice added.

The notice further stated that the video, made during the protest, caused “immense damage to the reputation and business of our client”, adding: “In this context, if DTEP does not seek an unconditional apology from our client (Maxim Properties) within 14 days, then appropriate legal action will be taken.”

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