EOBI scandal: Ex-minister implicated in Rs44 billion scam

Published: October 28, 2013
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Chaudhary Wajahat Hussain, a Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader and former federal minister has been allegedly named as one of the top beneficiaries of Rs 44 billion Employees Old Age Benefit Institution’s (EOBI) scandal.

Sources said Wajahat Hussain’s name surfaced in the EOBI scam when one Abdul Qayyum – seller of a Crown Plaza in F-7 Sector of Islamabad – told Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) investigators that he paid Rs 150 million to Wajahat Hussain through his front man Chaudhary Masood Warriach. He claimed this money was part of the total of Rs 330 million he paid to various brokers to sell his property to the EOBI at an exorbitant price in 2012.

Wajahat Hussain held the office of minister for Human Resources Development when the EOBI – a subsidiary of his ministry – purchased Crown Plaza for Rs1.02 billion without any third party evaluation.  Independent market analyst calculated actual price of the property in 2012 at Rs600 million.

Talking to Express Investigation Cell (EIC) Abdul Qayyum repeated his claims of paying deal fee of Rs150 million to Wajahat Hussain. He boldly claimed that everybody made money from him in the Crown Plaza deal, but since the receivers of the kickback were very powerful men no one including the FIA could dare to question them.

“I paid kickback to many people including Wajahat Hussain through his front man, but instead of questioning the PML-Q leader, I am being grilled by the FIA,” Qayyum complained.

A footage of a bank from where cash was withdrawn seconds Abdul Qayyum’s claim. The footage, now in the FIA custody, shows Warraich and his one aide enter into the bank with Abdul Qayyum to receive cash.  The footage also shows other aides of Warriach sitting in two vehicles outside the bank in Islamabad.

Abdul Qayyum claimed that Warriach brought him to the bank at gunpoint. Qayyum confesses to paying huge kickback to the EOBI top guns like Wajahat Hussain and others but wants to skip investigations.

“Please spare me and focus on Zafar Gondal and other bigger thieves to find out why the EOBI purchased Crown Plaza from me for Rs1.020 billion when its price in the open market was much lower,” Qayyum suggested.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2013.

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