ISLAMABAD: A senior official of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) responsible for keeping a check on unlawful constructions in the city built four illegal residential units on the greenbelt adjacent to his official residence and rented them out.

This information was placed before a subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) by a section officer of the National Assembly Secretariat, Anwarul Haq Haqqi, on Tuesday.

He said after making the illegal constructions on the greenbelt at Sector F-6, the CDA deputy director, Khalid Khokhar, rented out the units.

When the subcommittee, headed by MNA Shahida Akhtar Ali, referred the matter to the CDA chairman, Maroof Afzal, he disclosed that Khokhar was responsible for checking illegal constructions and demolishing them.

The CDA chief assured the meeting that he would look into the matter and submit a report to the committee.

After the meeting, Haqqi told Dawn that Khokhar not only raised four illegal residential units, comprising two beds, a lounge and a sitting room, but also rented them out for Rs25,000 per month each.

The deputy director was responsible for checking illegal constructions and demolishing them

Haqqi, who lives in the neighbourhood, added that the encroachment had spoiled the environment of the area.

The committee will take up the matter next month when the CDA chairman would submit a report.

Shuttle service

The CDA chairman told the committee that the civic agency had taken over the possession of the Diplomatic Shuttle Service bus station but its fate would be decided by the newly-established Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC).

He said the IMC would invite quotations from parties interested in operating the shuttle buses for visitors to the Diplomatic Enclave.

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US, the government decided to ban the entry of private vehicles in the enclave and introduced the Diplomatic Shuttle Service. The CDA had been facilitating the contractor by charging only Rs2 per square-yard as rent for the bus station. This amounted to an annual ground rent of Rs44,444.

Mian Abdul Manan, a member of the sub-committee, told the meeting that the same contractor was now ready to pay Rs160 million per annum for the site.

He directed the CDA to refer the matter to NAB which would investigate how the site was handed over to the contractor in a throwaway price.

Director General Audit, Maqbool Gondal, informed the committee that the shuttle service was not a private limited company as it was not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

He said the CDA record showed that an influential director in 2008 moved the case in favour of the contractor and after the competent authority gave approval he stopped the file at his office and did not forward it to the lower offices where such records are kept.

The CDA chairman said an inquiry was already in progress and he would inform the committee about it soon.

Restoration of plot

The committee also asked the CDA to explain as to why a cancelled plot was restored after nine years.

As per audit objections, the plot was offered for Rs40.656 million to Manzoor Elahi, Zareen Pervez and Shabnam Iftikhar in 1998.

The allottees paid Rs20.328 million as a down payment, and the rest of the amount was to be deposited in four quarterly installments.

Later, the party failed to make the payment and opted to surrender the plot on July 26, 1999. But over the refund, they went into litigation and later withdrew the case unconditionally.

Subsequently, the CDA refunded the deposited amount to the allottees on August 13, 1999.

In 2008, on the request of the former allottees the CDA restored the plot to them at a nominal rate of Rs103 million while the price of the plot had increased to about Rs650 million.

The CDA chairman informed the committee that the matter had been referred to NAB. An official of NAB, on the other hand, told the committee that the CDA did not provide them any record about the case.

He, however, said the bureau would examine the CDA request to investigate the matter at its upcoming meeting soon.

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2016