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KPEC files graft reference against ex-MNA, 14 others

Updated December 14, 2017

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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission (KPEC) has filed a reference with an Ehtesab court against former MNA Sardar Mushtaq and 14 others suspected of inflicting a loss of Rs137 million to the exchequer during the acquisition of land at exorbitant rates for a Workers Welfare Board project.

The KPEC alleges that the suspects had committed corruption while acquiring land for the Labour Complex, Haripur.

The suspects also include former WWB chairman Tariq Awan, former district officer revenue Latifur Rehman, former tehsildar Haider Zaman, former patwari Amjid Shehzad and some landowners.

In the reference, the KPEC alleges that the suspects were hand in gloves with each other and that the officials had fraudulently allowed the private persons to gain benefit, which could have been prevented by the lawful exercise of power.

The commission claims that its director general had come to know about alleged embezzlement by the public office-holders of revenue department and WWB in active connivance of the private land owners whereby a low-priced land was incorrectly shown and converted into superior kind of land and had caused a colossal loss to the public exchequer.

It adds that the public office-holders were found involved in the commission of offence by illegal determination of the price of the land with the active connivance of the landowners, who illegally enhanced the price of the acquired land to benefit the private landowners (co-accused).

All the accused while in league with one another had allegedly changed the status of the land by tampering the revenue record on the basis of which the land owners had claimed higher amount on exorbitant rates.

The commission claims that earlier the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had investigated the case but due to conspiracies of the suspects the requisite evidence was not received and resultantly the matter was closed by NAB. After receipt of evidence, a reference was compiled by the commission and submitted in the court of Ehtesab judge Abdul Ghafoor Qureshi.

Sardar Mushtaq was arrested by the KPEC on Sept 30, 2016, and was released on bail by the Peshawar High Court on Oct 5, 2016.

During the 2008 elections, Sardar Mushtaq was elected as MNA on the PML-N ticket from Haripur. He later joined the PPP but went back to the PML-N.

Sardar Mushtaq claimed that he was a respected landlord of Kot Najeebullah area and that in 2008, the NAB had started inquiry against him on the charge of the sale of his land to the WWB at exorbitant rates but closed it as the charges weren’t proved.

Sardar Mushtaq had also accused an investigation officer of the KPEC of victimising him on political grounds alleging that the said official had lost the provincial assembly elections in 2013 and that he considered him to be responsible for that defeat.

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2017