ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to tighten the noose around the Pakistan Peoples Party’s leadership and officials in the Sindh government.
In its executive board meeting on Wednesday, the bureau gave the nod to a reference moved against ex-prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who is also a senior leader of the PPP. The motion against Mr Gilani questions his decision to award a contract concerning a publicity campaign to a private advertisement firm, causing a loss of Rs128 million to the exchequer.
The ex-PM is not the only one connected to the case — other notable individuals include former principal information officer Muhammad Saleem, who is also incumbent chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, former secretary of the information ministry Farooq Awan, ex-company secretary of the Universal Service Fund Syed Hassan Shaikh and Inam Akbar, owner of the advertising firm.
Ex-PM Gilani, Pemra chairman and others face reference for awarding a publicity campaign contract
Mr Gilani is already in a pickle considering he has three other cases being investigated by NAB for alleged illegal appointments of individuals to high offices — former chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Tauqeer Sadiq in 2009, the controversial appointment of Adnan Khawaja as managing director of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited in 2010 and the appointment of Razzaq Sanjrani as managing director of the Saindak project that was launched to excavate gold and copper reserves in Balochistan.
The meeting chaired by NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal also ordered investigations against Awais Muzaffar Tappi, a close aide and relative of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, for illegally allocating hundreds of acres of land in Malir, causing a loss of Rs3.3 billion to the exchequer. Others accused in this case are ex-chief secretary of Sindh Raja Muhammad Abbas and former secretaries of the Land Utilisation (LU) department Ghulam Mustafa Phal and Ghulam Abbas Soomro.
Another reference will be filed against ex-director general of the Sindh Building Control Authority Manzoor Qadir and others for abusing their authority and forging official documents that cost the nation Rs3bn in losses.
The NAB board also approved an investigation against an ex-member of the LU board, Saqib Ahmed Soomro, and the management of a private housing scheme in Karachi called Gulshan Areesha for illegally allotting state-owned land to the property scheme, causing a loss of Rs4bn to the national kitty.
An inquiry was ordered against a former deputy auditor general of Sindh, Mazhar Ali Sahuto, and others for owning assets beyond known sources of income and for making illegal appointments and abusing their official authority.
A reference will be filed against the owner of a private firm Pak Com-Sultan Arfeen, Javed Faraz, and others for evading Rs21.6bn in licence fees.
A probe will be conducted against the vice chancellor of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (Karachi) for awarding PhD scholarships to teachers and students, who enjoyed good relations with the chancellor but who were otherwise not qualified to receive them.
Two separate inquiries were ordered against officers of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Company for misusing funds, and the management of Lady Reading Hospital for illegal appointments.
Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2018