ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee has sent the issue of allotment of Karachi Port Trust land on lease at cheap rates to Defence Housing Authority , United Workers Front and KPT officers to...
ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has sent the issue of allotment of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) land on lease at cheap rates to Defence Housing Authority (DHA), United Workers Front and KPT officers to the National Accountability Bureau, seeking report from it within a month.
According to reports, the lease caused a total loss of Rs104 billion to the national exchequer. The audit officials told the PAC the KPT allotted land to the DHA on lease at 18 paisa per square meter per annum. By allotting land to various housing societies, if allegedly faced a loss of PKR 8 billion annually. In total, in 16 years, it has caused a loss of PKR 104 billion to the national exchequer, it was claimed.
The Public Accounts Committee held its meeting under Chairman Noor Alam Khan on Wednesday in which audit paras and grants for the year 2019-2020 pertaining to the Ministry of Maritime Affairs were examined.
The Audit officials told the committee that 881 acres of KPT land at Keamari Town Ship and Keamari Village Area, Karachi, were given to Defence Housing Authority on 99-year lease at the rate of 18 paisa per sq meter per annum in 2005, KPT land at Hawksbay was leased to M/s United Workers Front of KPT Housing Society for 99 years at the rate of 10 paisa per sq meter per annum in 2006 while 130 acres KPT land at MT Khan Road was allotted to KPT Officers Cooperative Housing Society Limited on 99 years lease at the rate of 10 paisa per sq meter per annum. The lease rent per annum comes to Rs81,548,883, the panel was told.
Chairman PAC Noor Alam Khan said that the housing societies were allotted lands in 1996 and 2005 and whether they could cancel the lease of housing societies.
Committee member Ms Nuzhat Pathan said that this land was the property of Sindh government, which was given for business purposes. PAC member Salim Mandviwalla said the Sindh government should also be called to resolve this matter. The PAC referred the issue of KPT land on lease at very cheap rates to various housing societies, including DHA, to the National Accountability Bureau and asked for a report within a month.
The PAC also summoned secretary defence to brief it on the details of SOPs on allotment of land to DHA. The PAC directed the secretary Maritime Affairs to provide a list of container ships stranded at the shipyard and Port Qasim. The committee directed the secretary to strive hard to make recoveries and directed to pursue court cases vigorously.
Chairman PAC Noor Alam Khan said that there was no law and order problem in Gwadar and asked why grant of PKR1.5 billion of Gwadar East Bay Expressway was not used in time. PAC member Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that this was grant money, it should have been fully used. “It is a very important project of CPEC and it is a grant project.”
The committee decided that the next meeting would be held in Gwadar and Port Qasim Authority and KPT would also be visited. The committee, while examining the audit report, expressed displeasure over bad governance of the former chairman KPT Board and requested the prime minister not to post him anywhere because he, interalia, committed several irregularities while awarding contracts to disqualified bidders and giving government land on lease on unimaginable low rates.
However, the committee appreciated the performance of the incumbent chairman KPT. One of the members desired to know as to how many officers have been placed on deputation in the government departments during the last six months.
While examining the audit paras of non-recovery of rent from oil companies that caused a loss of PKR 820.497 million, the chairman KPT said that the oil marketing companies are paying rent but have objection to municipal tax.
The audit officials said that this was not the case as their documents prove that oil marketing companies were not paying rent. Noor Alam Khan constituted four sub-committees of PAC of four members, headed each by Ms Wajiha Qamar, Muhammad Barjees Tahir, Senator Saleem Mandviwalla and Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed.