Embezzlement charges: Former local government officials in trouble

The local leaders are facing charges of misappropriating Rs10m.


Mudassir Raja August 16, 2011

RAWALPINDI:


Six former officials of the defunct local government Attock District are in troubled waters as they are facing graft charges. The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) on August 9 registered an FIR against the former Tehsil Nazim of Hassanabdal, Shafqat Ali, former Naib Nazim Syed Sada Hussain Shah and four union council nazims and councillors, for ‘misappropriating’ Rs10 million from the funds for town administration. They had obtained the amount in violation of rules to construct a sports complex and a park in 2006.


The six officials, on the other hand, have approached the Rawalpindi bench of Lahore High Court for quashing of the FIR saying it was registered only to politically victimise them.

According to the contents of the FIR, the ACE alleged that the elected representatives misappropriated the money provided from Prime Minister’s Grant in 2006 for development schemes in Hassanabdal Town.

It has been alleged in the FIR that Rs10 million were drawn out of the  official funds as temporary advance in the favour of the then town naib nazim and a UC nazim to purchase land for a park and a sports complex but the money was kept in the permanent accounts of the recipients in a private bank.

The investigators further alleged that the committee constituted to purchase the land was formed in violation of the local government rules and there were gross irregularities in the six quotations received.

“All the quotations were typed from one computer, were not apparently sealed and did not carry the required two per cent of earnest money,” it was alleged.

The ACE also found irregularities in the payment for transfer of land in the name of Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA), after the transfer fee was paid by the seller.

On the contrary, the six accused in their petition before the high court have asserted that the FIR has only been lodged to victimise them after the change of government in 2008 general elections.

Filing their plea through Advocate Tanveer Iqbal, the petitioners have maintained that the ACE registered the FIR without following the normal procedure as they did not conduct formal inquiry into the allegations.

They said Rs20 million were received in 2006 from the federal government for uplift of Hassanabdal and half of the amount was spent on the sports complex project and land was purchased.

“The land was purchased on cheaper rates and proper advertisement was made in the local newspapers. Further the payments were made to the vendors through cross-cheques,” the petition said.

The accused men said the investigators had not raised any finger towards the employees of the TMA. “Any mismanagement cannot be carried out without the help of the concerned staff,” the petitioners claim.

Calling the FIR politically motivated the petitioners have prayed to the high court to quash the case.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2011.

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