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April 19, 2018

Land dealings of Khawaja brothers are suspicious: NAB

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April 19, 2018

LAHORE: The DG National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore Region, Shahzad Saleem, on Wednesday said the evidence available with the NAB corroborated that former LDA head Ahad Cheema took benefits from the Paragon City in terms of land.

A private transaction had been unearthed through which it was revealed that a piece of land was transferred in the name of Cheema and his family members and payments were made by Paragon, he added.

He said during the investigation, NAB had found that the property dealings of Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother were suspicious. However, he categorically denied the allegations that NAB has leaked documents related to Saad’s case. “NAB is investigating cases and faces do not matter,” he added.

Shahzad shared this information with media men after attending proceedings of a case at the premises of the Lahore High Court. He further revealed that NAB was investigating not one but multiple cases against Cheema and only merit would prevail in the matter. Cheema had also taken a plot from the LDA City, he added.

According to Shahzad, NAB has found during the probe of the Paragon Housing Society that Cheema and his family members were illegally benefiting from their involvement in a public sector scheme.

Saleem said the bank accounts of Cheema and his family members grew considerably during Cheema’s tenure as DG LDA. He said, “Accountability is such a phenomenon which people like for others but not for themselves. People demand accountability but at the same time they want to apply it to others.”

“The NAB chairman is determined to maintain merit and law as his first priority and nothing will go beyond merit and transparency,” the NAB regional chief said. Cheema was arrested last month over charges of misusing his authority and, with criminal intent, processing and awarding the Ashiana-e-lqbal project contract worth Rs14 billion to Lahore CASA Developers, a joint venture, to a firm which was ineligible for the purpose. The contract, in connivance with other accused persons, was awarded in violation of PPP Act, 2014.

The NAB inquiry further revealed that Bismillah Engineering Services Co (a major shareholder of JV titled Lahore CASA Developers) was a proxy firm working on behalf of Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd. Cheema allegedly received illegal gratification in the form of 32 kanals of land valued at Rs30.09 million approximately from the owners of the Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd.

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