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National

July 15, 2015
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CDA ignores PAC directives to probe land scams

National

July 15, 2015

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ISLAMABAD: At a time when a court order catapulted the hitherto dormant National Accountability Bureau (NAB) into action and a list of 150 mega scandals came out to hog media headlines, the Public Accounts Committee’s calls to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to probe certain cases of irregularities and malpractices have fallen on deaf ears.
Records available with The News revealed that the public watchdog of the national exchequer has unearthed several irregularities and malpractices in the sales of CDA plots valued at Rs750 million in the market, and the latter has been directed in each case to probe the matter and report back to the PAC but the top guns in the CDA are in no mood whatsoever to acquiesce to the PAC orders.
Ironically, the cavalier and disdainful attitude displayed by the CDA to PAC’s instructions clearly points up a widespread pattern prevalent with the Authority and its mandarins to give a short shrift to all matters referred to them by the Authority.
As the situation stands, several cases reeking of official malfeasance have been referred by the PAC to CDA in recent times but the latter uses different delaying tactics, including litigation, to stall the matters and the result is that PAC long appreciated for its random checks on misuse of public money, has become increasingly ineffective, toothless and unable to exercise its constitutional mandate.
Here are some cases taken up for PAC on audit objections but these orders were ignored repeatedly. In first case the CDA sold plot no 29 in G-9 Markaz (Karachi Company) through open auction in 2003. The highest bidder didn’t deposit required amount with the CDA in given time so the sale was cancelled in December 2003. After a period of five years, the bidder, after a period of five years not only got the sale agreement restored but also got the permission to construct extra storey on that plaza. Extra price for the construction of that storey - Rs260.3 million rupees - was

not recovered from the buyer. After audit objection pointed out that the CDA suffered a loss of Rs490.5 million, the PAC on January 22, 2013 ordered to investigate the matter.
This order was never implemented.
In another case, the CDA sold plot no 34-A in G-9 Markaz in 1988 at a price of Rs5.8 million. The winner of the auction didn’t come to get plot and 10 percent of his security deposit was confiscated and the remaining amount was returned to him. After a period of 22 years on July 28, 2010, he applied with the CDA that his plot should he reinstated and on October 18, 2010, his plot was reinstated and even the CDA didn’t charge the required fee of restoration of the plot, which under the rules is must. The auditor pointed out that it caused a loss of Rs20 million to the CDA. The PAC on January 22, 2013 directed to investigate the issue. This order was never implemented. After a period of about two years, the matter was again brought before the PAC and this forum was told that the case is pending in the court of law so it couldn’t be investigated.
In third case, plot no 48, Murree Road reserved for agriculture farms was sold through open auction at a rate of Rs2.5 million per kanal. Later on this plot was divided into two parts and one part was merged with adjacent plot and sold at just Rs500,000 per kanal. Audit reported that this sale caused a loss of Rs103 million rupees to the CDA. The PAC directed to hold investigation into the issue but this order of the PAC was never implemented.
The audit report also pointed out that the CDA sold eight plots in different sectors of Islamabad at lower prices which caused a loss of Rs103 million. In last week of January, the PAC again directed to conduct inquiry into these cases. After a lapse of five months, there has been no investigation into the matter. When this correspondent contacted the CDA spokesman Ramazan Sajid, he promised to provide details as soon as he would get details. After a lapse of seven days he was again approached but he never gave any information.

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