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October 6, 2020

SHC seeks progress report on NAB inquiry into PA building construction

Karachi

October 6, 2020

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) special prosecutor and investigating officer to submit the progress report on their inquiry into alleged corruption during the construction of the new buildings of the provincial assembly and the MPA hostel as well as into purportedly illegal and out-of-turn appointments.

The order came on a petition of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s executive committee member Afshan Mansoor, who said the PA project had been approved in violation of all the relevant rules and regulations.

She also said the cost of the MPA hostel’s construction had been increased from Rs2.7 billion to Rs11.4 billion, while half of the payment of Rs6.72 billion had been made to the contractor despite the fact that 50 per cent of the project had not been completed.

She claimed that the finance department had been allocating funds and the accountant general office had been making payments to the contractors without any objections, saying that mass corruption had been committed in the new MPA hostel’s construction.

She also said that illegal appointments and out-of-turn promotions had been made in the PA secretariat in violation of the orders of the Supreme Court. She requested the court to conduct an inquiry into the alleged corruption during the construction of the new PA building, the residential secretariat of the PA speaker and deputy speaker, and in the under-construction MPA hostel as well as into illegal appointments in the PA secretariat.

Filing an application for compliance with the court’s directives, the petitioner submitted that the SHC on January 21 had disposed of the petition following the statement of the NAB special prosecutor that the complaint’s proceedings had been placed before the competent scrutiny meeting and the IO had been authorised to do the needful.

The petitioner’s counsel said that after the filing of the statement and the disposal of the petition, no further progress had been made in the proceedings. The counsel pointed out that the petitioner had made several representations to the NAB authorities and that it was necessary to call the latest report from the anti-graft watchdog because the matter pertained to 2017, and no progress had been shown in the matter to date.

He said the matter was of public importance because the officials of the PA had committed corruption on a high level and misused their authority by making illegal appointments and allowing out-of-turn promotions. He requested the court to call the progress report in the matter from NAB and issue the appropriate orders.

After hearing the application, the SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha directed NAB’s special prosecutor to appear along with the IO of the case to file an update on the progress made in the matter.