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PESHAWAR: National Accountability Bureau Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal on Friday ordered an inquiry into the alleged corruption in the Bus Rapid Transit project and non-completion of the mega project within stipulated time, which led to increase in its estimated cost.

The NAB chairman ordered the Director General NAB, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to conduct inquiry to find out why the estimated cost of the project had been increased to Rs64 billion from initial estimates of Rs49.36 billion, according to a press release issued here.

The project is still incomplete despite whooping increase in its cost.

The chairman NAB ordered to find out reasons why the estimated cost of the project increased and why the project was not completed well in time within the prescribed time schedule.

He said that NAB would continue playing its role in ensuring judicious utilisation of national money and elimination of corruption from the country as per law.

The NAB KP had earlier started complaint verification regarding the project and had sought relevant record from the KP government.

A bench of the Peshawar High Court headed by Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth had already ordered the NAB to conduct an inquiry till Sept 5 regarding different issues related to the BRT project, including the delay in its completion, cost escalation and award of contract to a firm which was allegedly black-listed in Punjab.

Although, the high court had last year disposed of two writ petitions challenging the project and had declared it in accordance with law, it had directed the relevant officials to submit progress reports from time-to-time. The court has been conducting proceedings over the said reports and will again hear the case on Sept 5.

The delay in completion of the much-publicized project, which was started by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led provincial government in Oct 2017, has caused undue sufferings to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in general and Peshawar in particular.

Meanwhile, the NAB authorised an inquiry against officers/officials of KP administration department for corruption and corrupt practices. The accused persons are stated to have embezzled millions of rupees in the chief minister block at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, Islamabad.

According to a statement, the approval was given at the regional board meeting of the bureau chaired by director general NAB, KP Farmanullah Khan.

The meeting also authorised two separate inquiries against officers/officials of Pak-PWD and Pesco for illegally awarding contracts to blue-eyed contractors in NA-18 worth billions of rupees through Pak-PWD without competition and fulfilling the codal formalities.

The board also authorised inquiry against Haji Alif Khan (private person) and TMA Peshawar for illegally establishing fruit market at Kala Kili on GT Road Peshawar and not depositing any collection made from gate fee.

The regional board authorised another inquiry against the tourism department for embezzling funds worth millions of rupees under the ‘Kalam Area Integrated Development Project’.

Besides, the board authorised an inquiry into embezzlement of development funds and cutting of timber in Chitral.

Another inquiry was authorised against MTIs DI Khan regarding corruption and misuse of authority.

The board authorised an inquiry against Noor Nawaz, a resident of Kohat, for swindling millions of rupees from people while running a business of prize bonds.

Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2018