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May 2, 2018

Housing project owners flee country


May 2, 2018

LAHORE: Owners of Eden housing projects accused of multi-billion fraud have fled the country what NAB calls inefficiency of Interior Ministry as the bureau had written two months back to the ministry to put names of Dr Amjad and his sons Murtaza Amjad and Mustafa Amjad on Exit Control List (ECL).

The owners of Eden housing projects, including Dr Amjad, Anjum Amjad, Murtaza Amjad and Mustafa Amjad are facing criminal proceedings initiated against them by the National Accountability Bureau over the charges of depriving thousands of affectees of their hard earned money worth billions of rupees.

NAB top officials and sources in Eden housing project have confirmed this scribe that above said owners of Eden Housing projects excluding Anjum Amjad have fled the country to avoid investigations of National Accountability Bureau against them.

The sources disclosed that the Eden family has dual nationality of Canada and most probably they have travelled to Canada.

According to the official documents available with The News, a letter, No 3-1(1)(1)/L/NAB.Dy.Dir (ECL) dated February 16, 2018 was written to Interior Ministry seeking name of Chief Executive Officer of Eden Housing Projects Dr Muhammad Amjad, s/o Ghulam Hussain on ECL. Later, another letter was written from NAB on April 11, 2018 to DG Passport and Immigration Ministry of Interior stating that “During inquiry proceedings, there is a very strong apprehension that accused Anjum Amjad, wife of Dr Amjad and his son Murtaza Amjad may abscond in order to frustrate due process of law”.

Another letter available with The News No 1(9)HQ/1835-NAB-L dated March 20, 2018, from NAB to interior ministry shows that another request was put up before the interior ministry by the NAB seeking cancellation of the passport of Dr Muhammad Amjad and put it on the black list.

However, multiple requests from the bureau proved fruitless as none of the required actions were taken by the ministry, which provided a window to Eden family to fly out of the country. The NAB’s spokesperson commenting on the issue said the bureau will try to bring back the accused if the ministry of interior cooperates.

He said the Eden family had time by March 31 to fulfill the commitment which they had made earlier with the NAB but the family failed to do so. On different occasions even after March 31, notices were issued to Eden owners but no one appeared before the bureau, he added. He said the bureau is putting its maximum effort to provide relief to the affectees of Eden projects. The due course of law and procedure will take place and will provide ultimate relief to the affectees, he added.

The NAB had already frozen properties of Eden housing and by opting court of law such properties will be sold out to provide relief to the Eden victims, if the owners of Eden do not turn up and cooperate with the NAB, focal person added.

Meanwhile, a statement has been issued by the NAB Lahore Tuesday stating that after escape of Dr Amjad to Canada, approximate 500 inhabitants of Eden Boulevard approached NAB Lahore for incomplete status of project.

Eden Boulevard project is the phase of Eden housing project. It was floated to public in year 2004 with the promise to complete project in 18 months. However, despite lapse of significant period, Dr Amjad (the owner) delivered plots to public without proper sanitation disposal and electrification.

The NAB chairman took cognizance of the issue and directed NAB DG Lahore Shahzad Saleem to look into the matter related to basic facilitation and to ensure electrification of Eden Boulevard before the beginning of the month of Ramazan. NAB Lahore DG called meeting of all stakeholders, including Lesco officials, suppliers, contractors and consultants of the project. NAB also called society president Ziaullah and prepared fast track plan for the completion of electrification for more than 700 houses. Electric poles and infrastructure for erection of conductors have so far been installed and it is expected that supplying feeders of Lesco would be connected to the site with High Power Transmission Line within a couple of days.An official of Interior Ministry on the condition of anonymity informed this scribe that the names of Eden family yet have not been placed on ECL. He said the placement of the names on ECL is a lengthy process and names could not be placed on the ECL without approval of cabinet committee.

When contacted, Section Officer ECL Ministry of Interior Qalandar Khan didn’t give a response despite repeated calls and messages. Only once Qalandar Khan picked up phone and disconnected the call after initial introduction.

It is pertinent to mention here that over a year ago the NAB had given March 31, 2018, deadline to the Eden group for handing over plots and houses to those who had paid almost full amount but it failed to do so.

Later, on April 19, a press briefing was issued by the NAB stating that the bureau is still awaiting response from the interior ministry regarding putting the names of the owners of Eden Housing Projects on Exit Control List (ECL) despite passing two months.

As per NAB investigation, owners of Eden Housing projects had at least 111 commercial plots in Eden housing projects in Lahore alone. The accused have eight commercial plots near Eden Canal Villas and Canal Road. They also have two commercial plots of four kanals near the airport. NAB’s initial inquiry revealed that the accused had two commercial plots of 10 marlas in Eden City near the new airport.

NAB has also found evidence of property owned by the accused in Eden Abad, Defence Road that was entitled to Eden Housing and its directors. They have 404 kanals of land entitled to them in the name of Capital Land Developers in Mauza Tamma, Chatha and Mohriyan.

They also had 333 kanals of land in the name of Golden Earth and AM Form in Mauza Bhaghrian and Zila Dharma Chandar. NAB investigations have found 26 commercial plots against their name in a project named Eden Residentia.

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