ISLAMABAD: Three retired generals accused of being involved in a multi-billion scam of National Logistics Cell (NLC) have been taken back in active service so that they may face court martial, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of National Assembly was informed on Thursday.
Planning Commission secretary Javed Malik told the PAC, which met at the Parliament House, that the GHQ had instituted a court of inquiry against the accused generals.
The NLC is run by the military authorities, but administratively it falls under the Planning Commission and its secretary acts as its principal accounting officer before the PAC.
The PAC members, unhappy with the GHQ’s handling of the case, expressed scepticism over its latest move. And they became even more sceptic when an official of National Accountability Bureau informed them that despite repeated attempts the GHQ was unwilling to share record of the scandal with the NAB.
The PAC had asked the NAB to move against the accused officials.
“After multiple inquiries conducted at various levels, the PAC in June last year gave its final recommendations, asking departments concerned, including the GHQ, to take necessary action against the officers found guilty of financial corruption.
But we are yet to hear anything concrete from the GHQ,” remarked Yasmin Rehman of the PPP.
She said the PAC would view the latest GHQ move as a delaying tactic until it completed its investigations and brought the accused to book.
Answering a question, the NAB official said that so far the chief of the army staff and the NAB chairman had met three times to work out how their two organisations could have parallel investigations.
It had now been decided that the GHQ would move against the military officers and the NAB against the two civilians found guilty of deliberately causing financial loss to the NLC, the official said.
He said the NAB inquiry was being delayed because the GHQ was yet to provide any record on the scam. PAC chairman Nadeem Afzal Gondal directed the defence secretary to cooperate with the NAB and report back on the matter to the committee after four weeks.
The issue of financial mismanagement and alleged corruption of Rs2 billion in the NLC first came to light in Feb 2009 when the PAC asked the Planning Commission to look into the matter. The-then PAC chairman, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, first gave a deadline of two months for determining the truth about the scandal. Subsequently, four inquiries were conducted but the issue remained unresolved.
The inquiry reports held Lt-Gen (retd) Khalid Munir Khan, Lt-Gen (retd) M. Afzal Muzaffar, Maj-Gen (retd) Khalid Zaheer Akhtar, Najibur Rehman and Saeedur Rehman responsible for the losses incurred between 2004 and 2008.
They not only borrowed money from commercial banks on high interest rates but also invested pensioners’ money in risky business of stock market and received commission from companies through which the money was invested. Over Rs4 billion was invested in the stock market and the NLC suffered a loss of about Rs1.8 billion as a result.
The PAC also discussed the issue of NLC’s status. NLC Director General Maj-Gen Junaid Rehmat said he had sent a summary to the government to resolve the issue because its ambiguous status sometimes caused unnecessary problems.
The PAC members praised the NLC’s new manage-ment for turning the organisation around and for earning profits.