The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Friday formed six teams to expedite investigation into the multibillion corruption scam in the Employees Old Age Benefits Institution (EOBI). The Supreme Court, which took suo motu notice of the alleged scam, has ordered the FIA to complete investigation within 10 days.
Qudratullah Khan, the director of FIA’s Punjab chapter, constituted six teams, each comprising two officials to investigate the 11 Punjab-based property transactions. Each team, led by an assistant director, has been assigned to investigate two properties while one team will investigate the remaining one property.
A preliminary probe conducted by the FIA indicates that top executives of the EOBI invested around Rs40 billion into the private sector, flouting rules and without a prior approval of EOBI’s Board of Trustees. The probe has revealed that the then chairman, Zafar Gondal, had received kickbacks either directly or through subordinates and front-men.
Representatives from the EOBI, Director (Investment) Asif Fraz, and Assistant Director (Administration) Naeem Shaukat Qaimkhani, appeared before the FIA with records of 11 transactions on Friday. The FIA has sought official land prices from areas where EOBI is alleged to have purchased properties at rates higher than market value. The agency has also decided to approach the National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) for assessment of the properties in question, in order to determine their real market value.
The FIA has also summoned former EOBI chairman Zafar Gondal and owners of these properties. Sources familiar with the investigations revealed that the EOBI has only provided a partial record, adding that criminal cases would be registered only after complete examination of the records and determination of the role of each individual(s) associated with these dealings.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2013.
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