Monday July 15, 2024

Rs 1.25bn kickbacks: NAB starts inquiry against Elahi, Moonis, Sahi

By Numan Wahab
June 10, 2023

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau has started an inquiry against former chief minister Punjab Pervaiz Elahi, his son Moonis Elahi and former Punjab minister Ali Afzal Sahi for allegedly taking kickbacks of Rs1.25 billion in development projects for Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin. It has been learnt that the inquiry has been initiated against the former public officeholders over allegations of securing hundreds of millions through front men, including ex-principal secretary to CM Punjab Muhammad Khan Bhatti and XEN Rana Iqbal in 226 development projects launched during 2021-23. As per reports received by the NAB, a nexus was functional to secure kickbacks in generating and awarding development projects for both the districts under the supervision of Bhatti and Iqbal, who also used to allegedly collect black money against lucrative transfers and postings of Punjab Highway Department officials. The amounts were systematically transferred to high-ups. The sources privy to the development said that during the financial year 2021-22, Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin were allocated 45 development projects, whereas in 2022-23, the districts got 181 development schemes. Most of the projects remained incomplete even after securing money. Reportedly, the chief minister Punjab office directly passed orders to the C&W Department for early approval of 184 schemes that violated the official code of conduct. An investigation committee has been constituted to investigate the allegations.