The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Tuesday arrested Syed Iqbal Haider Zaidi, Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) deputy director general for his alleged involvement in purchase of Crown Plaza (CP) scam, said an FIA official.
The arrest was made in response to an FIR registered by the agency over the purchase of the plaza in Blue Area. The official, who is close to investigation, said Zaidi is accused of signing documents for the purchase on the direction of then-EOBI chairman Zafar Iqbal.
A loss of Rs370 million was caused to the federal pension fund due to the lack of transparency in the transaction, according to the FIA. The FIR was registered against Zaidi, Iqbal and others for receiving kickbacks and causing losses to EOBI.
The FIA report states that the value of the plaza was Rs626 million in 2012, according to a Nespak assessment. EOBI authorities, however, paid Rs1.002 billion — or 60 per cent more than the estimate — to Rana Abdul Qayyum, the owner of the plaza.
The investment scam came to light in 2012, when the then-EOBI management bought into a DHA scheme, and separately purchased the plaza.
The management had also controversially purchased two 4,300cc SUVs for the personal use of officers, two plots in Sukkur, and seven plots from the CDA, according to FIA.
In July last year, the Islamabad High Court had rejected the bail pleas of Qayyum and EOBI Investment Director General Wahid Khurshid Kunwar. The court had observed that they were not entitled to
bail as they were directly involved in the purchase of the plaza.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2015.