PESHAWAR: Having completed its probe into the illegal use of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government’s helicopters, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has revealed that those, who engaged the chopper for private use, owe Rs90 million to the provincial administration, sources said on Monday.
They added NAB had also written to the KP government to recover the cost of all the illegal helicopter trips taken by “influential politicians, public officeholders” and others. At least 2,000 people had travelled in state helicopters since 2008.
The helicopters were used by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, former and current provincial/federal ministers including others. Former and incumbent members of provincial and national assemblies and officials of political parties also travelled in helicopters, the sources said, adding that chief secretaries, secretaries and other government employees were also among the flyers.
Last month, the KP government announced it had prepared a draft to amend laws regarding the use of its helicopters and other matters in the province. Following the amendment, no one will be able to question the chopper’s use including who uses it and why is it being used.
According to the amendment draft, the use of the government’s helicopter from November 2008 till date will be considered legal and valid. No question could be raised regarding the use of the chopper, which would be allowed to be rented out. However, permission for personal use would have to be sought from the province’s chief minister.
The draft states that the government’s helicopter, apart from its use by the chief minister, can also be used by ministers, advisers, special assistants or government officials. Approval of the amendment bill has been included in the agenda of the provincial assembly’s next meeting, according to the sources.
Talking to Geo News, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Labour Minister Shaukat Yousafzai denied that the helicopters were ever used for private purposes. “Choppers were used for only government work. No minister or officer in the past or now has used them for personal work,” Yousafzai said, adding, “In this case, NAB is hounding KP government for no reason”.
The KP minister questioned why was NAB not doing anything against the corruption of the Sharif and Zardari families. “Amendments in the law related to helicopters are being made for the betterment of the people,” Yousafzai added.