PTI Lahore president Abdul Aleem Khan, former senator Gulzar Ahmad Khan and four others have voluntarily decided to return Rs7.5 billion to the Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) for six properties bought by them from the government institution, sources told The Express Tribune.
The FIA team in Punjab was investigating 11 transactions worth of Rs8.65 billion, of properties in the province, out of which 6 have decided to return the money to the EOBI. These six parties have conveyed to the FIA in writing an undertaking on affidavits that they pay back the entire amount received on account of sale of their properties if the EOBI returns their properties, sources familiar with the development told this correspondent.
The EOBI had invested an amount of Rs180 billion in real estate, contrary to the rules and without prior approval of the organization’s Board of Trustees, causing EOBI loss of billions of rupees, the sources said. Ex-chairman of the EOBI Zafar Gondal, and ex-DG Investment among others have been booked for massive corruption.
The EOBI management had also purchased land situated in the Pak Arab Housing Society from ex-Senator Gulzar Ahmad Khan for an amount of Rs1.9 billion. Similarly, PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan also sold two properties worth Rs1.3 billion each, in Park View and River Age, said sources familiar with the case.
During the course of the investigations it emerged that Diamen Associates-an evaluation (survey) company was hired to evaluate 96 properties and was paid Rs45 million as fee. Ironically, the CEO of the Diamen Associates, Wamiq Anwar, is an employee of the PTI leader, making the whole property evaluation a raging case of conflict of interest, sources told The Express Tribune. Moreover, it has been further revealed that the entire land of River Age Phase-1 itself is disputed property, which was sold to EOBI at an exorbitant rate.
The EOBI had increased the ratio of investment in real state from 12 per cent to 25 per cent.
Moreover, it has also been revealed during investigations that land measuring 40 kanals 16 marlas in Sehjpal village (15 – 20 km away from Lahore city) was purchased from an unknown company, East Management for Rs1.43 billion, which is 300 per cent above market price. The said deal was done without the approval of the Board of Trustees.
Former EOBI chairman, implicated in the suo motu case by the apex court had purchased four floors of a plaza/hotel from a close relative for Rs250 million; and a parking area for Rs320 million, spending another Rs50 million on its renovation. However, not a single penny has been generated from these properties and thus, gave EOBI a loss of around Rs650 million, sources claim. Unsurprisingly, these properties worth Rs100 million on the market were purchased for Rs700 million, sources said.
As per the feasibility report of the construction of the 7-star hotel in front of the Lahore Airport, the project was started in year 2005 with an estimated expenditure of Rs4 to 5 billion. The tender for the project was given to Novatel Company, however, Gondal stopped the construction work and started digging a well spending Rs550 million on it. The matter went to court, with heavy fines being imposed on EOBI. In all, a loss of around Rs9 billion has been suffered by the EOBI.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2013.