ISLAMABAD: A subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to furnish a report by May 8 on violations of an agreement by the leaseholder of Monal Restaurant at Pir Sohawa.
The committee was surprised when it was informed by auditors that the original files of the diplomatic shuttle service scam had been missing from the CDA record.
The committee was told by a representative of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) that the reconstructed file of the case had also gone missing.
“Interestingly, the CDA inquiry report in the case is also missing,” the NAB representative told the committee. The subcommittee, which met under the chairmanship of Mian Abdul Mannan, said the case had been facing a delay of years and directed NAB to submit its report in two weeks.
According to an audit report, because of the nominal rent the CDA had to suffer a loss of Rs874 million in the shuttle service.
About the Monal Restaurant case, audit officials told the committee that the CDA had leased out the restaurant to a private party in 2006 for a period of 15 years at an annual rent of Rs3.12 million without an open auction. The rent was nominal as compared to similar commercial properties/business leased out by the CDA. The auditors also said the CDA had not levied property tax on the leaseholder. The convener of the committee said there were several other violations such as the expansion of business by expanding the area but the CDA had failed to take action against the operators.
CDA’s acting Chairman Dr Fahad Aziz and members estate and planning could not give satisfactory answers when asked why action had not been taken to remove the violations. The committee directed the CDA officials to furnish complete details of the case by May 8.
The committee also discussed other paras in which the CDA was accused of giving undue favour to leaseholder.
Plot for Supreme Court Bar Council
The auditors told the committee that in 2011 the CDA had allotted a 4,000 square yard plot in G-5 to the Supreme Court Bar Association against a subsidised rate for the construction of a building for the bar council. But instead of the bar council offices, currently Grand Ambassador Hotel was being run on the plot.
The audit report said the leaseholder had signed an agreement with the director of Grand Ambassador Hotel for a rent of Rs2.7 million per month for 10 years.
The report said a notice was issued by the CDA in 2016 for stoppage of the non-conforming use but to no avail.
“Due to the non-conforming use the CDA faced a loss of about Rs1,668 million,” the report said.
CDA officers acknowledged their failure in taking action to remove the non-conforming use of the building.
When an official said the Supreme Court Bar Council had filed a case in Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the CDA notice, the convener of the committee decided to defer the para.
Margalla Tower plot
The auditors said the CDA had allotted a commercial plot in F-10 on which Margalla Tower was constructed. But without receiving all the payments the civic agency passed its drawings and handed over the possession of the plot to the allotee.
Member Estate Khushal Khan said the plot had been cancelled and the case was in the IHC. The committee then decided to defer this para till the decision of the court.
Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2018