Housing scheme fraud pulls bigwigs in NAB probe

NAB probes ‘multi-million rupee’ housing scam

National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore on Saturday launched inquiries against Khayaban-e-Amin Housing Society and accused Dr M Arshad, working as director of different departments, of multi-million rupee corruption scandals.

The Regional Board Meeting (RBM), held at NAB Headquarters Thokar Niaz Beg Lahore, was chaired by NAB Director General Shahzad Saleem. The board authorised a direct inquiry against the owners of Khayaban-e-Amin Housing Society following registration of 287 complaints against scam of Rs221.65 million. The anti-graft watchdog initiated the inquiry after receiving numerous complaints pertaining to cheating and possession of homes, flats and plots to the claimants despite complete payment. NAB Lahore earlier received 223 complaints, whereas, 64 new complainants approached NAB Lahore, seeking to register cases against the accused.

Moreover, keeping in view the increased number of complainants which depicted the gravity of the situation regarding possession of plots and return of payments, NAB initiated action and arrested the accused. The total amount claimed by the claimants is Rs221.65 million so far, which has been forwarded to the housing society for return and an inquiry has been initiated against the administration of Khayaban-e-Amin Housing Society.

Another inquiry has been authorised by NAB against Punjab Workers Welfare Board (PWWB) (Education) Director Dr M Arshad. The information gathered to date proved the allegations of misuse of authority in the procurement of substandard uniforms for PWWB schools in 2012-13 academic year. Complaint proceedings reveal that the accused did not allow all willing private companies to participate in the tender proceedings for summer and winter uniforms for the PWWB schools. Moreover, the rates approved in tenders were 130% higher than the tender from the previous year 2012-13 which allegedly caused a loss of Rs100 million to the board. Also, there are allegations that the tenders were awarded to the blue-eyed contractors. An Inquiry was authorised to further dig into the allegation.

While addressing the meeting, NAB Lahore DG Shahzad Saleem said NAB Chairman Justice Javed Iqbal has issued directions to address all housing societies related cases on priority whereas, he advised all the officers to investigate cases without any discrimination.

A day earlier, NAB chairman had presided over a ceremony to distribute cheques among the victims of a housing society. Since his taking office, NAB had been vigorously investigating allegations of corruption in different housing societies the most famous of these were Ashiyana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme, Paragon Housing Society, Eden Garden Housing Society Scam and now this Khayaban-e-Amin Housing Scheme scam.

In February 2018, NAB chairman had held a public hearing at NAB Complex Thokar Niaz Beg. During the hearing, the public had submitted their complaints. An overwhelming majority of complaints were related to housing societies. The chairperson ordered an inquiry into housing society including Shuja Town Jubilee Town Model Housing Enclave, Eden housing project and others.

In the Eden Housing Society scam, NAB had frozen the property of four accused. In Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing scheme scam, six accused including former DG LDA Ahad Khan Cheema were arrested. Cheema is on physical remand with NAB.

Secretary to prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad and Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has also appeared before NAB in the case.

As far as other developments in the housing society were concerned, NAB has also initiated an inquiry in Ferozpur Housing Scheme scam.