ISLAMABAD: A top official of the local government system in the federal capital has recommended to an oversight commission to suspend for three months the elected mayor of the city for his alleged corruption and favouritism in awarding an inter-city bus contract.
During the seventh meeting of the Local Government Commission (LGC) – set up under the interior ministry to oversee the performance of the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) and the Capital Development Authority (CDA), convened on Thursday. It was presided over by its chairman, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CDA Affairs Ali Nawaz Awaan.
LGC panel holds mayor responsible for tax scam
During Thursday’s meeting, Islamabad Chief Metropolitan Officer (CMO) Syed Shafaq appeared before the commission. Shafaq, who is also the secretary of the Islamabad Capital City Administration (ICTA), tabled a reference against IMC Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz.
The CMO alleged that the mayor was responsible for irregularities by awarding a contract for an inter-city bus service to a company of his choice. Therefore, the reference suggested suspending the mayor for three months and to launch a probe against him.
After reviewing the reference, the commission’s chairman sought a vote from the commission members on the next course of action decided to send the recommendations of suspending the mayor to the interior ministry for further action.
Sources said that the LGC forwarded the reference to the federal government as well.
Reviewing the matter of tax recoveries for Base Transceiver Station (BTS) towers and advertisement boards put up across the federal capital, the IMC’s recovery magistrate appeared.
He briefed the participants that they had recovered Rs50 million from telecom companies.
However, things turned out sour when the LGC chairman asked IMC Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) Director Zafar Iqbal about the tax recoveries made so far.
Awaan went on to say that Iqbal had maintained that all cheques provided by the cellular companies had bounced.
Hence, LGC chairman directed to register criminal cases against the cellular companies that were involved in the criminal activity.
The LGC further decided to send an inquiry report, prepared by a two-member inquiry committee of the commission on irregularities in tax recoveries to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The agency has been asked to probe the matter after studying the fact-finding report.
Questions raised over LGC panel’s probe report
Investigations for not auctioning a contract for cattle market on the outskirts of the federal capital last year has been handed over to CMO Shafaq.
She has been further given the responsibility to oversee affairs of auctioning and setting up a cattle market in the suburbs of Islamabad for this year.
Earlier, an inquiry panel had claimed that the mayor caused losses worth Rs90 million to the IMC by not auctioning the establishment of a cattle market in Islamabad last year. The LGC chairman had termed the failure in holding the auction as maladministration rather than corruption.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2020.
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