KARACHI: An official of the local government department, Sindh, who was recently arrested by the National Accountability Bureau, has made startling revelations depicting whopping corruption in the LG department by various officers, according to NAB sources and documents seen by Dawn on Wednesday.

Mohammad Ramzan Solangi, personal secretary to the secretary for local government for the last 15 years, was arrested in his office at the Sindh Secretariat on April 18.

The held official “candidly conceded” before a NAB team that he “remained active part of systemic and entrenched corruption prevalent in LG department Sindh,” according to the NAB investigation report.

He reportedly expressed “remorse” and “guided” the NAB team to his residence in the Garden area where cash, bonds, banker travel certificates, jewellery, gold bars and other valuables hidden by him in closets of his flat were seized. The total value of the properties was estimated at more than Rs33 million.

The interrogation of Mr Solangi was conducted, which divulged startling revelations about widespread corruption from which “the secretary LG, the minister LG and other political individuals, all were regular beneficiaries,” according to contents of the probe report.

The NAB team also seized a chit from his custody, which the accused had saved as a “memo” regarding the distribution of monthly corruption share to the LG secretary, the LG minister, a member of the National Assembly, the LG director and others as per the investigation report.

Mr Solangi also disclosed before the investigators that the LG secretary had allegedly “diverted colossal funds to Solid Waste Management Board and Wasa Hyderabad and to various other development schemes of Hyderabad and subsequently embezzled a large chunk of these funds,” said the NAB investigation report.

600 ghost employees in LG dept

The accused LG official also revealed that there were at least 600 ghost employees in the LG department whose salaries were being embezzled by different officials of the department.

He also told the NAB investigators that Rs100m was being embezzled from the budget of District Municipal Corporation (DMC) West of Karachi on a monthly basis.

The arrested LG official also divulged the regular monthly corruption done in the DMCs in the head of fuel, which amounted to Rs20m per month.

According to the NAB investigation report, the arrested accused narrated the “permanent corruption” done by the officers of the DMC West and the contractors and revealed that “50pc of the payments issued for development works are mutually embezzled by these corrupt elements”.

The accountability body during the investigation has also unearthed that the accused secretary to the local government secretary had 21 different benami accounts and the NAB investigators showed him the bank record and the chequebooks issued in his name.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2018