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February 15, 2018

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PAC bars issuing uplift funds after May 15

ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday directed the Ministry of Finance not to release development funds to any federal ministries and department after May 15 and if the directives of the committee were violated, action would be taken against the ministry.

The directive was issued by the PAC when its member Senator Azam Swati alleged that Rs3 billion corruption was detected in development programme in Mansehra as the contracts for the development projects were being given to close relatives and now this case was also in the NAB. The audit officials revealed in the PAC that funds of Rs132 million were released for the development projects of Mansehra on June 17, 2015-16 just before the end of the financial year.

PAC Chairman Syed Khursheed Shah observed that around 25 percent of the development funds waste every year and the performance of the audit officials in this regard is poor.

Meanwhile, the PAC rejected NAB inquiry report on the alleged corruption of billions of rupees in Bhara Kahu Housing Society, which was presented to the committee after nine months but without signatures of the investigation officers.

It was revealed in the Public Accounts Committee that the land which had a price value of Rs50,000 per Kanal in 2009 was purchased at Rs 900,000 per kanal for the Bhara Kahu Housing project and even Rs2 billion has been paid in advance to a company M/S Green Tree for the infrastructure developments of Bhara Kahu Housing project but the project has not started yet.

The PAC has expressed its annoyance at the NAB saying that they presented the report with a delay of nine months to the committee and even without the signature so it would not be accepted.

The meeting of the PAC was held on Wednesday under its Chairman Syed Khursheed Shah in which the Ministry of Housing and Works gave a briefing to the committee on Bhara Kahu Housing project.

Expressing its annoyance at the NAB report, the PAC observed that it seemed that remains of former NAB chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry were still calling the shots in the NAB.

Briefing the committee on Bhara Kahu Housing project, the audit officials told the PAC that the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation in 2009 entered into agreement with M/S Green Tree Private Ltd for infrastructure development and under the agreement the project was to be completed in two years time but it was not completed yet.

The audit officials told the committee that the NAB in its report pointed out the corruption which was already mentioned in the audit report.

The audit officials while briefing the committee said that the land which have a price value of Rs50,000 per kanal was purchased at Rs900,000 per kanal and in this way the original price of the land was Rs200 million but it was purchased at Rs1.80 billion.

Secretary Ministry of Housing and Works told the committee that advance payment of Rs2 billion has been made to M/s Green Trees Pvt Ltd for the infrastructure development out of Rs3 billion and now is giving the threats that if another payment of Rs650 million was not released then he will not give the way for the housing project.

To the query of PAC about the owner of the M/s Green Trees Pvt Ltd, the Secretary Ministry of Housing and Works told the committee that it was owned by Dr Hafeez Abbasi.

The committee directed for submission of the complete report on it within 15-days of time and observed that the inquiry should be conducted of those who were conducting inquiry.

The committee also referred the allegation of irregularities in the newly constructed NAB building in Islamabad and decided to get a briefing on this issue from the chairman NAB in the next meeting of the PAC.

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