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April 9, 2020

Paragon Housing case adjourned until 21st

Lahore

April 9, 2020

LAHORE:An accountability court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of Paragon Housing scam case until April 21. The court has granted exemption to Khawaja Saad Rafique from personal appearance on his application seeking exemption due to the lockdown and coronavirus situation.

However, co-accused Khawaja Salman Rafique appeared before the court. The court adjourned the hearing till April 21, directing the prime witness of NAB Qaiser Amin Butt to appear before the court.

It is pertinent to mention here Qaiser Amin Butt has not been appearing before the court since the last many hearings apparently due to health reasons. According to the reference details, Qaiser Amin Butt, the main accused in the Paragon Housing scam, voluntarily disclosed the facts related to the commission of offence and requested for pardon under Section 26 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 (NAO 1999), which was granted by the competent authority. NAB filed reference against Khawaja Saad Rafique, Khawaja Salman Rafique, Nadeem Zia Pirzada, his son Umer Zia and Farhan Ali. The NAB stated in the reference that Saad Rafique, in connivance with his wife Ghazala Saad Rafique, brother Salman Rafique, Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia, started a housing project namely Air Avenue, which was an illegal housing society. Later, it was converted into M/s Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd. Saad Rafique and Salman Rafique, in connivance with Nadeem Zia and Qaiser Amin Butt, defrauded a large number of members of the housing society.

Saad opened a company, Executive Builders, in his and his wife’s name, and later converted it into Paragon and withdrew a large sum of amount from the account of Executive Builders. The Khwaja brothers embezzled the funds of illegal housing society for personal gains, and collected heavy amounts despite clear directions from the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) that the society was illegal.

Moreover, the Khwaja brothers allegedly wrongfully received Rs18.2 million from Paragon City in their accounts. NAB further stated that Saad Rafique established a firm, namely Saadain Associates, and wrongfully gained Rs58 million from M/s Executive Builders. Also, Salman Rafique established a firm namely KSR Associates and wrongfully gained Rs39 million from M/s Executive Builders, which was a proxy concern of M/s Paragon City. NAB claimed that Khwaja brothers owned 93.6 per cent shares of Paragon City, while Qaiser Amin Butt owned 7.4 percent shares in the project.