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September 18, 2020

Liquor licence case: NAB arrests ex-DG Excise Akram Gondal


September 18, 2020

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore Thursday arrested former Director General (DG) Excise & Taxation Akram Ashraf Gondal, claiming that the accused technically manoeuvred the process to grant a liquor licence to a hotel.

In its official statement, NAB Lahore said: “It has been disclosed during the inquiry proceedings that the accused (Akram Gondal) technically manoeuvred the whole process to grant L-2 category liquor licence to said hotel without its eligibility.”

NAB is conducting an inquiry against Akram Gondal, Raheel Siddiqui former principal secretary to Punjab chief minister, chief minister himself and others for allegedly awarding an illegal liquor licence.

NAB Lahore arrested Akram Gondal on the allegations of corruption and corrupt practices through misuse of authority by playing pivotal role in issuance of alleged illegal liquor licence to private hotel, situated in Lahore.

According to details, shared by NAB Lahore, the accused Akram Gondal misused his authority and illegally granted L-2 category licence to a private hotel, whereas it was not even eligible for securing a liquor licence as it had not obtained 4/5 star rating certificate from the Department of Tourist Services, Punjab, which was necessary for obtaining the L-2 category licence.

The accused also did not follow other necessary procedures and codal formalities for issuance of liquor licence. Akram Gondal managed to obtain no objection certificates (NOCs) from different departments through his co-accused (Excise & Taxation Officer or ETO), who issued letters for having NOCs for issuance of L-2 category licence to facilitate the private hotel.

The NAB Lahore officials, after having sufficient evidence against former DG Excise & Taxation, arrested Akram Ashraf Gondal, the Bureau concludes.

The accused will be produced before an accountability court on Friday (today) for obtaining his physical remand.

On Aug 18, CM Punjab Buzdar had submitted his reply in the NAB declaring the liquor licence issuance allegation baseless.

The CM stated that a summary was sent to him by the then DG Excise and Taxation, Akram Gondal, for issuance of a licence, which was rejected. The CM stated that the DG Excise, after issuing the licence, again sent a summary to the CM office, but the CM’s principal secretary returned it for having been sent to an irrelevant forum.

Agencies add: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) closed an inquiry against Chaudhry brothers -- Pervaiz Elahi and Shujaat Hussain -- for regarding wilful default on bank loans.

NAB submitted a report about closure of the inquiry in the Lahore High Court (LHC). Counsel for NAB told the court the inquiry had been closed for of lack of evidence.

According to NAB, the inquiry regarding bank loan default had been closed but the Bureau was still working on inquiries regarding assets beyond means and illegal appointments.

Pakistan Muslim League President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvaiz Elahi had approached the LHC against the NAB investigations against them.