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Tuesday February 27, 2024

NAB files graft reference against Elahi, Moonis, others

NAB Lahore, has filed a corruption reference against former chief minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and others

December 03, 2023
PTI President Parvez Elahi and his son Moonis Elahi.—The News/file
PTI President Parvez Elahi and his son Moonis Elahi.—The News/file 

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore, has filed a corruption reference against former chief minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and others.

Elahi is accused of misusing his authority and receiving kickbacks to the tune of Rs1.23 billion in Gujrat’s 116 development projects.

The NAB Lahore initiated the inquiry proceedings on reported offences of alleged corruption and corrupt practices, committed by Pervaiz Elahi, his son Moonis Elahi and Muhammad Khan Bhatti, principal secretary to the-then chief minister, along with officers and officials of the Punjab Highway Department.

They have been charged with corruption in development schemes, launched with the supplementary grants, in Gujrat district during the financial year 2022-23, as reported by the Communication and Works (C&W) Department, Government of Punjab.

During the course of inquiry/investigation, it was revealed that Elahi and others received hefty kickbacks, bribe or commission, in 116 plus development schemes of Gujrat.

The total estimated cost of the schemes was Rs30.948 billion. However, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the-then CM Punjab, his son Moonis Elahi, former federal minister, Muhammad Khan Bhatti, and 11 officers and officials of the C&W Department received Rs1.23 billion as kickbacks/bribe.

An accused, Ashfaq Ahmed, Sub-Engineer Gujrat, confessed to his involvement in corruption and corrupt practices and offered to return his illegal gains worth Rs50 million through plea bargain with NAB as defined under Section 25(b) of NAO, 1999, which had been duly approved by the accountability court, Lahore.

Two other accused, Sohail Akram, ex-chief engineer, and Mahr Azmat Hayat, ex-sub engineer (XEN), became approvers against the prime accused.

Moonis Elahi has been declared a proclaimed offender (PO) by the accountability court, as he intentionally absconded abroad and avoided joining the investigation proceedings. Accountant of Moonis Elahi, Imtiaz Ali Shah, also absconded to avoid joining the investigation.

After concluding the investigations, NAB Lahore’s prosecution team, led by Director General (DG) NAB Lahore Amjad Majeed Aulakh, filed a reference in AC u/s 18(g) r/w 24 (b) and cognizable u/s 9(a)(i)(iv)(vi) & (xii) of NAO, 1999 on the basis of concrete evidence on record against the accused.

Meanwhile, responding to the development, Moonis rebuked the corruption allegations claiming that the €1 million along with other funds across various accounts are “declared”. “Today NAB has issued a press release stating that my father and I are involved in corruption and they have filed a reference against us claiming an amount of Rs744 million,” he said in a statement on the microblogging platform X.

“Apparently this involves 1 million euros in my account. The 1 million euros are mine along with all funds in our accounts [...] they have been declared in FBR with the source of funds and money trail,” he added.

He also claimed that the anti-graft watchdog itself cleared him and his father of all charges when they filed an application of “9C” in the court. “NAB itself told the court that it had looked into our assets [going back] 20 years.”