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ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday decided to file a reference against former chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, former member finance Saeedur Rehman and others for alleged corruption and misuse of authority in the construction of the decade-old Shakarparian Cultural Complex which cost over Rs1 billion.

NAB took this decision in its executive board meeting which was presided over by the bureau’s chairman, retired Justice Javed Iqbal.

According to a NAB spokesperson, the CDA officials have been accused of indulging in corruption worth Rs471.498 million and the misuse of authority in the construction of the Shakarparian Culture Complex.

The officials have been accused of corruption, misuse of authority in Shakarparian Culture Complex project

Both the former CDA chairman and member finance were arrested in the same case last month and were then released on bail.

Worth Rs1.1 billion, the project was initiated in 2007-08 without a feasibility study and was abandoned by the CDA in 2009 after spending Rs420 million when 28pc of the construction work had been completed.

According to the PC-1 of the project, an auditorium, amphitheatre, piazza administration block, two cinemas, conference hall, a seminar hall and cafeteria and coffee shop were to be constructed on 28.5 acres.

NAB suspected that massive corruption had been committed in the project and decided to file a reference. Federal auditors had also pointed several irregularities in this projects and the Public Accounts Committee had referred the matter to NAB.

When contacted, CDA Member Planning Asad Mehboob Kayani said the authority in its meeting held in Dec 2017 had decided to revive the project and the then member engineering Shahid Sohail was tasked with appointing a consultant and form a committee to expedite the project for early completion.

However, the member engineering, who retired recently, did not comply with the decision taken by the CDA board and no significant effort was made for the revival of the project on which over Rs400 had already been spent some 10 years ago.

In the board meeting held in December last year a summary was moved which said: “An inordinate delay of almost [8 years] has already occurred and financial resources incurred on the project [need] to be salvaged. [Steps] need to be taken for realization of an appropriately planned project for culture-cum-social activities for the citizens of Islamabad.”

It said the plot and building cannot be used for commercial purpose because Shakarparian is part of the Margalla Hills National Park and is in Zone III.

The partially completed structure of Culture Complex needed to be completed and utilized properly to safeguard public money spent on it, preferably realizing the investment made in the structure thereon where ever possible, the summary emphasised.

It continues that NAB has recently converted its inquiry proceedings into investigations.

According to CDA documents, most of the buildings have been substantially completed except for the auditorium and amphitheatre. They say that due to the delay, several issues have arises such as the expiry of bank guarantee against mobilisation advance, the expiry of consultancy contract, expiry of construction contract, claims of contractors on account of idling of resources and non-encashment of performance guarantee due to court stay.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2018