Rs400m housing scam: Two PHA officials arrested

Accountability court gives accused in NAB’s custody for seven days.


Our Correspondent June 11, 2014
The two accused were produced before accountability court judge Muhammad Ibrahim Khan to obtain a physical remand. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: Two more officials of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Provincial Housing Authority (PHA) were arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday for allegedly being involved in a Rs400 million housing scam.

According to a NAB press release, K-P PHA Director Planning Salahuddin and Assistant Director Planning Muhammad Yaqoob were arrested from Peshawar.

The two accused were produced before accountability court judge Muhammad Ibrahim Khan to obtain a physical remand. The judge handed over the men to NAB’s custody for seven days.

In 2012, PHA Peshawar acquired land for ‘Housing Scheme for Government Servants and General Public’ at Mouza Darwaza in Nathiagali at an exorbitant rate and caused a loss of Rs400 million to the exchequer.

The NAB press release states that the site originally approved for the housing scheme was near Ayubia-Nathiagali Road, but the accused PHA officials having mala fide intentions changed the site and acquired land situated away from the actual location at a higher price.

“The land which was worth Rs0.7 to 0.8 million per kanal was instead purchased by front men at Rs2.4 to Rs2.5 million per kanal, with the connivance of the then PHA officials including Sharifullah and Zakiullah,” the statement adds.

To date, NAB has arrested five people during the course of the investigation including former PHA director general Javed Ahmad, PHA Land Acquisition Collector Naveed Qadir, front man Muhammad Asif, former secretary housing Zakiullah, who is presently working as a member of the Provincial Inspection Team, and former PHA director finance Sharifullah, who is at present working as Additional Accountant General Pakistan Revenue.

“During interrogation, it was unearthed that the accused Salahuddin, being the PHA Director Planning, facilitated the other accused in the embezzlement of Rs400 million by misusing his authority to get illegal gains,” the statement reads.

Similarly, Assistant Director Planning Muhammad Yaqoob also assisted and abetted other accused persons and paved the way for misappropriation and received his illegal share, it adds.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2014.

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