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Former secretary Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), Junaid Ahmed Khan, recently removed from his post for alleged abuse of authority, has claimed innocence in his written reply to the government. However, documents available with The News belie his claim.
The Officer Welfare Association of the ETPB had accused the former secretary of abusing his authority in investments, misappropriation in ETPB funds, back-dated staff appointments, illegal acquisition of a plot etc., through a complaint to the ministry of religious affairs on December 17, 2014.
The ministry had sought comments from ETPB Chairman Siddiq-ul-Farooq on the allegations leveled against Junaid Ahmed, through a letter No. F(109)/2014-P-I dated January 2, 2015. The chairman asked the secretary to furnish his response to the complaint. Later, displeased by Junaid’s conduct, the chairman removed him from the post, ordering the additional secretary to assume secretary’s office on January 27. Junaid proceeded on leave.
Earlier this month, the National Accountability Bureau had also started investigation into the alleged illegal allotment of one-kanal plot to the former secretary. Junaid Ahmed filed his response to the complaint with the chairman on January 19 who forwarded it to the ministry of religious affairs and interfaith harmony on January 27.
He submitted: “The complaint dated 17-12-2014 filed by so-called Officer Welfare Association is not only frivolous and baseless but also contrary to the facts and the same is completely denied in totality.” However, the documents available with The News, contradict the para-wise statements of the former secretary.
Junaid Ahmed in his reply, a copy of which is available with The News, stated that the investment of Rs 721 million was made by former chairman Asif Hashmi in the year 2010 and 2011, prior to his posting. The investment account was operated by the former chairman and chief controller of accounts. He also claimed
that he had also reported this illegal investment to NAB.
Junaid Ahmed himself in his reply admitted that the investment with M/s Highlink Capital (Pvt) Ltd was illegal and he had also reported this to NAB authorities, but documents show that Rs 280 million out of total Rs 721 million were invested with M/s Highlink Capital before Junaid’s joining the ETPB, but when he had joined the Board on August 16, 2011 on deputation period for three years, Junaid, being secretary ETPB, also became convener (member) of the board committee which had invested further Rs 441 million, in 08 transactions, out of total Rs 721 million, from September 13, 2011 onward till May 14, 2012. The meeting minutes of the investment committee also contain signatures of Junaid Ahmed and other members, including former ETPB chairman Asif Hashmi.
Besides, the documents show that Kashif Aziz, manager of a bank’s Civil Lines Lahore branch, through a letter bearing cheque numbers and dates to Controller of Accounts ETP Board Lahore on June 19, 2013 had confirmed the detailed amount transfer in favour of the company from June 16, 2010, to May 14, 2012.
According to the documents, official figures of Controller of Accounts of ETPB, outstanding amount of the Board with the company as of May 30, 2013 had stood at Rs 870.827 million and out of those, the Board had received only Rs 10 million through civil court from the company and the remaining amount of Rs 860.827 million is still pending with it.
The Lahore Stock Exchange had forfeited the Trading Right Entitlement Certificate (TREC) of the company on March 24, 2014 on account of violation of General Rules and Regulations of LSE. “M/S Highlink Capital (Pvt) Ltd is not a TREC holder of LSE,” a letter No 2654 of LSE of May 2, 2014, to chief controller of accounts of ETPB reads.
Junaid also wrote in the reply that a plot was lawfully allotted to him in Area Development Scheme at Nankana Sahib under usual terms and conditions as per policy of the ETP Board on installment basis with approval of former chairman. He further wrote that allotment letter was duly issued on December 28, 2011, by then deputy secretary (land), Ms Fauzia Aziz vide letter No 1157. He also wrote that the date was inadvertently mentioned as December 28, 2012 instead of December 28, 2011.
“The then secretary (L&P) has issued a corrigendum vide letter No 1874 dated March 12, 2013 and all the installments along with surcharge have been paid to the ETP Board,” he further wrote, adding there is no bar on transfer of plot to any person. But documents contradict statement of Juanid Ahmed as Ms Fauzia Aziz in her statement, which is also a part of the complaint filed against him on December 10, 2014, claimed that neither she processed any case regarding allotment of a plot in favour of Junaid Ahmed,nor she received any approval from any authority. “I did not sign the allotment letter and my signatures on the allotment letter are bogus beyond any shadow of doubt,” Fauzia further wrote.
Fauzia also claimed in her statement that transfer of the said plot by then secretary (Land and Property) ETPB, Sanaullah, to Deputy Director Punjab Housing and Town Planning Agency, Sub-Region, Sheikhupura on February 15, 2013, was against the prevalent procedure adopted in all such matters.
Documents show that corrigendum of date of allotment of the said plot was issued on March 12, 2013, after passage of almost 15 months by the then secretary (Land and Property) Sanaullah instead of Fauzia. Junaid Ahmed in his reply did not say a single word about the statement of Fauzia Aziz.
This correspondent on Thursday approached Sanaullah through calls and text message at his cell number 0333-7841666 but he did not respond. When contacted again on Saturday, Sana Ullah said he could respond on the corrigendum and other issues after going through the files.
Similarly, Junaid Ahmed also wrote that two Tehsildars Ismail Sanjrani and Zia Sanjrani were never appointed by him. However, he further wrote that he had reported about these illegal appointments to the High Court of Balochistan.
As Junaid himself has admitted in the reply that appointment of both Ismail Sanjrani and Zia Sanjrani was illegal as he had also reported about this to a high court, but documents show that a letter No. 5782 dated July 6, 2012, duly signed by Juanid Ahmed had put both Sanjrani brothers at the disposal of Balochistan government on deputation for a period of three years without disclosing to the federal or provincial government about their fake appointments.
According to documents, both Sanjrani brothers have not worked even for a single day at Sukkur and Rawalpindi zones of the ETPB, respectively. Both the zones had informed the board authorities that they did not even receive their joining letters either. Later, both the Sanjrani brothers were also regularized in ETPB.
The former secretary further wrote that Saleem Gondal and Abdullah Awais were appointed by the former chairman in the year 2001, much prior to his posting in the ETP Board. As a matter of the fact, both the officials were recruited in the ETPB in 2001 but as Assistant/Inspector (BPS-14) and computer operator (BPS-12) respectively rather than Assistant Administrators (BPS-16) whose appointment letters he had allegedly issued in 2012.
Documents show that in the period when Asif Hashmi was head, fresh assistant administrators were recruited on six vacant posts in 2011 including Sumera Rizvi, Farooqi, Hamayun Khan, Bilal Saleem, Munir Bhatti and Akram Joya directly while Saleem Gondal and Abdullah Awais, who had also appeared in the selection test and interview, were placed in the list of reserved candidates.
Junaid Ahmed issued the appointment letters of both Saleem and Awais on December 28, 2012 allegedly unlawfully without posts and without approval of the competent authority i.e. the federal government. “Reserved candidates Saleem Gondal S/O Muhammad Khan and Abdullah Awais S/O Muhammad Alam Zaib are hereby appointed against the vacant post (Punjab & KPK quota) of Assistant Administrator (BPS-16) in the ETP Board”, a letter No 11428 dated December 28, 12, 2012 issued by Junaid Ahmed reads. Both these officers are presently working as District Officers in Nankana and Bhakkar, respectively.
In his reply, the former secretary did not say a single word about an ante-dated inquiry he had conducted with other officials against one Javed Bashir, administrator, Central Zone, Multan. Documents say the said inquiry was declared anti-dated by the Federal Deputy Secretary, order conveyed to Junaid Ahmed on March 21, 2013.
The inquiry report is without any date and it is not mentioned when the inquiry started and when it concluded. “The accused had not been given any opportunity of personal hearing which was the statutory requirement of disciplinary proceedings as laid down in the E&D Rules 1973,” the deputy secretary wrote in his order.
Junaid Ahmed also wrote that Col (retd) Iftikhar Ahmed, ETPB’s former chief security officer was appointed on contract by former chairman in 2010 prior to his (Junaid’s) posting and was granted extensions by Asif Hashmi. Junaid further claimed that it was he who terminated Iftikhar’s services later.
Contrary to his claim, documents show that Junaid, being secretary ETPB on February 16, 2012, had recommended to then chairman approval of Iftikhar’s contract till the date of superannuation.
Junaid further clarified that he never claimed that he had close relations with the judges of superior courts, higher authorities of FIA, NAB, Police, etc. He contended that a campaign had been launched against him by some ETPB officials to divert attention of authorities from their corruption.
When visited in person by this correspondent Saturday, Junaid Ahmed confirmed that he, being secretary ETPB, was convener of the investment committee which had invested with M/S Highlink, but claimed that he does not know how many meetings of the investment committee he had attended. He even claimed that signatures on the meeting minutes were not his.
To a query that if the investment of Rs 721 million was illegal then why he reported about the same to NAB so late, Junaid claimed he approached NAB in 2014 after a proper scrutiny.
When asked about the statement of Ms Fauzia that her signatures on his allotment letter of his plot were bogus and fake, the former secretary said, “Fauzia is lying now. I have got the plot following all legal procedures”.
When asked if he had no role in the illegal appointment of Iftikhar Ali Shah then why he recommended to the former chairman to approve the same, Junaid said contract of Iftikhar till the age of superannuation was forwarded to him by the Shrines branch, adding it was he who had taken up the matter of this illegal appointment with the federal government.
To another query that he himself admitted that both the Tehsildars were appointed illegally in the Board then why he handed over their services to Balochistan government, Junaid said the file of their transfer to Balochistan on deputation period came from someone else.
About the appointment of Gondal and Awais, the former secretary claimed that he had issued their promotion letters rather than their appointment letters in 2012. He further claimed that he had issued their promotion orders with the approval of the federal government. “Even if there was any wrongdoing in the process, why anybody had not taken up the matter at that time,” Junaid added.