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December 7, 2018

KMC moves court against ‘harassment’ by NAB


December 7, 2018

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the federal law officer and others on a petition filed by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) against alleged harassment by officials of the anti-graft watchdog.

The KMC stated in its petition that it is one on the biggest municipal corporations in the country that is running its affair under the Sindh Local Government Act.

Its counsel said that NAB officials had directed the director general of parks & horticulture on October 26 to provide information with regard to development and maintenance of parks in the city, adding that the information was provided to them.

He said that NAB officers again sought details of the Annual Development Programme schemes for greenbelts and the tender of Rs500 million for Bagh Ibne Qasim, adding that the information was duly provided by the relevant department.

The counsel lamented that even though the KMC has been cooperating with the anti-graft watchdog, the former’s officers have been issued with call-up notices by the latter’s officers demanding that they appear in person for inquiry into embezzlement of funds.

He said that NAB officials are harassing KMC officials under the guise of call-up notices and seeking details of their family members, relatives and in-laws and their assets.

He claimed that the respondents are interfering in the affairs of the KMC without proof of offence, and that the watchdog has no power to conduct fishing and roving inquiry against the municipal body and its officers under the NAB Ordinance.

The counsel said that the KMC has been working for the benefit and welfare of the public, and that its staff and officers are unnecessarily being harassed by the anti-graft watchdog.

He said the KMC’s accounts are duly audited by the country’s auditor general, providing pre- and post-audit reports every year. He requested that the court restrain NAB from harassing KMC officers and order the watchdog to provide the necessary information about the inquiry against the municipal body.

After the preliminary hearing of the petition, the SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro issued notices to NAB and others, calling for their comments to be filed on December 31.

Several retired and current officers of the KMC and the Karachi Development Authority have been booked by the anti-graft watchdog in NAB references pertaining to illegal allotment of residential and commercial plots in Lines Area, Gulistan-e-Jauhar and other parts of the city.

NAB has also arrested senior officials of the KMC for alleged illegal sale of over 200 acres of precious land in Landhi that caused huge financial losses to the national exchequer.

Moreover, the watchdog is also probing the matter against the municipal body’s officers pertaining to the illegal conversion of residential plots and amenity plots for commercial purposes.

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