Tuesday October 03, 2023

Ashiana Housing Scheme case: Document destroys NAB case against Shahbaz, Fawad

The emergence of the agreement has given a dramatic twist to the NAB’s case against former chief minister Punjab and former secretary to PM, both of whom were arrested by the NAB.

November 27, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The very basis of NAB’s case against Shahbaz Sharif and Fawad Hasan Fawad in the Ashiana Housing Scheme has been destroyed by a legal document revealing that the contract of Latif Sons for the project was never cancelled but rescinded following a mutual agreement between the contractor and the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC).

The copy of the agreement as available with The News spoils the very case of NAB, which has arrested both Sharif and Fawad on the allegation that they had cancelled the Latif Sons’ contract in Ashiana Housing Scheme with an alleged motive to give the project to a favorite company. The agreement, which was also presented before the Lahore High Court on Monday by the counsel of Fawad Hasan Fawad, contains the signature of both the parties: Latif Sons and PLDC, and it announces: “The parties do hereby agree that the agreement dated 16-02-2013 for the execution of the project for a contract price of Pak Rs1,495,222,824/- (Rupees one billion four hundred ninety five million two hundred twenty two thousand eight hundred twenty four only) is immediately terminated and rescinded on the date of the execution of the instant agreement.”

The agreement signed on 9th November 2013 clearly mentions that the parties with freewill and consent have mutually resolved to reside from the agreement dated 15-02-2013 for execution of the project and to terminate the said agreement executed inter-se between the parties due to unavoidable circumstances and issues with no claims whatsoever from either of the partiesagainst each other. The emergence of the agreement has given a dramatic twist to the NAB’s case against former chief minister Punjab and former secretary to PM, both of whom were arrested by the NAB. The written mutual agreement between the PLDC, and Calsons was presented in Lahore High Court NAB bench by Fawad’s lawyers, effectively rebutting the NAB contention that Fawad Hasan Fawad illegally got the contract of Ashiana cancelled through misuse of his position as Secretary Implementation to the Chief Minister Punjab.

The grounds of arrest presented by NAB in the court alleged that during March 2013, accused Fawad Hasan Fawad, the then Secretary (Implementation) to Chief Minister Punjab, by misusing his official position and authority, with mala fide intentions and ulterior motives, and by unlawfully assuming the powers of the PLDC board, passed unlawful direction and exerted undue pressure on the-then CEO Tahir Khurshid and Project Director Syed Ali Moazzam to cancel the legitimate contract awarded to Ch A Latif and Sons. The NAB further alleged that Fawad put undue pressure on the CEO to cancel the contract. Shahbaz Sharif, who was arrested in the first week of October, was also charged with getting the contract cancelled with mala fide intentions.

In Monday’s proceedings in Lahore High Court, Azam Nazeer Tarar lawyer for Fawad, pulled a surprise when he revealed the Calsons (Ch Latif and Sons) contract was never cancelled, rather on 9th November, 2013, PLDC and Calsons signed an agreement of recession of contract by mutual agreement. The News has the authentic copy of agreement duly signed on 9th November by Amir Latif on behalf of Calsons and Shahid Latif, CEO PLDC, on behalf of PLDC. The same document was presented in the Lahore High Court. The key terms and conditions of this termination and recession by mutual agreement are that Calsons, the contractor of Ashiana, will relinquish, waive and forego all the rights, interest vested through agreement entered in February 2013, which was alleged to have been cancelled by Fawad Hasan Fawad. Calsons through this mutual agreement with PLDC, also agreed not to take any legal recourse or make any claim.

In return, the PLDC, released Calsons’ security guarantee of Rs74 million and Calsons refunded Rs74 million mobilization advance paid by PLDC. It was also agreed that there will be no restrictions on Calsons to participate in the future tenders. It was also mutually agreed that the claim of Calsons about work done on site will be evaluated and processed by consultants and will be paid in seven days. The documents presented in court showed that Calsons claimed Rs40 million and the committee of experts assessed the claim of Calsons as Rs5.9 million, which was paid and accepted by Calsons. The agreement of recession was duly attested by Notary Public.

Fawad’s lawyer contented that when the agreement of mutually agreed recession was signed between the PLDC and Calsons in November 2013, Fawad was not serving in Punjab, but had already been transferred to the federal government in April 2013. Moreover, the agreement of recession was signed by Shahid Latif, the then CEO PLDC, whereas NAB had alleged that secretary Fawad pressurized CEO Tahir Khurshid to cancel the agreement, whereas Tahir Khurshid was also transferred many months before the agreement was rescinded.

Strangely, NAB is investigating this case for the last many months, but never revealed this crucial document. The coming to light of this agreement has totally destroyed the grounds of arrest of Shahbaz Sharif and Fawad Hasan Fawad, and also exposed the major shortcomings of NAB’s case against them.