SC summons former PM Ashraf in discretionary funds case

Published June 28, 2013
The chief justice observed that Raja Pervez Ashraf had released billions of rupees from his discretionary funds in sheer violation of rules and regulations. – File Photo
The chief justice observed that Raja Pervez Ashraf had released billions of rupees from his discretionary funds in sheer violation of rules and regulations. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday summoned former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for July 16 in connection with the distribution of over Rs42 billion discretionary funds for development.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, resumed hearing of a suo motu notice of development funds released by the former prime minister.

The court directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to trace beneficiaries of the massive funds.

It also barred the departments concerned to release further funds from the People's Works Development Programme PWDP-II, with the directive to assist the court and the Attorney General Munir A. Malik in this regard.

The court advised parliamentarians and other people, whom the funds were released to through the PWDP-I and PWDP-II, to present their viewpoint.

During the course of proceedings, the attorney general apprised the bench that the former prime minister, while releasing the funds, had violated rules and regulations of Planning Commission of Pakistan.

Representatives of auditor general of Pakistan informed the apex court that the prime minister has powers to utilise discretionary funds for development projects. However, in case of shifting funds for another project, the consultation with the ministries concerned is also required, he added.

They contended that the former prime minister did not comply with the rules and regulations.

The chief justice termed the release of Rs20 million development funds to a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officer for convening a meeting, an act of extreme corruption. The officials involved in the corruption will try to save one another, he remarked.

He observed that Raja Pervez Ashraf had released billions of rupees from his discretionary funds in sheer violation of rules and regulations.

Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry remarked that the funds were utilised to muster public support during the 2013 general elections, but the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) remained silent.

He asked the AG about the government's intention for the recovery of embezzled money. Upon this, the attorney general assured the court that he would brought the matter into the notice of the federal government.

Director General Public Works Development Sarwar Awan told the apex court that Rs140 million was released to three persons belonging to Chakwal district under the head of developments funds.

Rs40 million was released to Col (retd) Ghluam Saleem, Rs50 million to Malik Muhammad Amir and Rs50 million to Fasil Majeed, he added.

The court directed the AG to submit a copy of the 1984 notification, authorising the prime minister to release development grants to public representatives, on July 16.

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