ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has arrested the top office bearers of the Commerce Employees Cooperative Housing Society for illegal allotment of plots, embezzlement in funds and illegal award of contracts for infrastructural development in the housing scheme to some private construction companies.

A spokesperson of NAB told the media on Thursday that those who were arrested include the former president of the housing society Rana Ghulam Farid, the former vice president and general secretary Syed Amir Hussain Shah, general secretary Mazhar Hussain, former executive member Mohammad Akram Awan and the chiefs of two private firms-Sun Shine Real Estate Marketing and Khushnawaz Property Dealer.

“The accused persons were collaborating with one another and were involved in corruption such as wrongful allotment of plots, embezzlement in society funds and the illegal award of contracts for development works causing losses of billions of rupees to members and the public at large,” the spokesperson said.

NAB also decided to investigate four private construction firms for obtaining controversial contracts from the society management. These include MAC Construction, Al-Khalil Construction, Ayan & Company and Capital Venture.

NAB also to investigate four construction companies for illegally obtaining construction contracts from society admin

Notices were reportedly served to the owners of these construction companies so that their statements can be recorded.

The Ministry of Commerce Employees Housing Society was registered in 1987 with 7,000 members.

NAB has received multiple complaints against the society management regarding the misuse of authority in the award of development contracts, allotment of plots and embezzlement of society funds.

The investigation disclosed that the former president of the society, Rana Ghulam Fareed connived with the others to illegally accommodate and award a contract of consultancy services to Naveed Aslam & Associates without competitive bidding in gross violation of cooperative societies’ laws.

The society has received millions of rupees from members and the same has been embezzled by the accused persons instead of being spent on the purchase of land and development works in the society, NAB has said, and that the accused persons illegally allotted plots, without balloting, to selected people.

NAB came to know during the investigation that Rana Ghulam Fareed collaborated with the other accused and transferred dozens of files, amounting to millions of rupees, on bogus cheques as well as double allotments.

He is also said to have been involved in the transfer of 94 memberships of the society on the basis of fake and bogus documents without the knowledge of actual owners.

It has also been established, the accountability bureau has said, that the accused persons worked together to cheat the public at large and committed criminal breach of trust.

The accused persons were produced before the judge of the Accountability Court, Rawalpindi on Thursday by investigation officer Mubashir Karim Chaudhry and the court granted a seven-day physical remand.

This is the second case of the society being investigated by NAB. In the first case, which is being tried by the Islamabad Accountability Court, Rana Ghulam Fareed has been declared an absconder.

In that case, a contractor of the society, Raja Mohammad Ishaq who is the managing director of Soan Valley Shelters, was arrested as he had allegedly received Rs450 million for the development of the society but did not develop a single plot between the years 2000 and 2015.

The society management granted escalations in development charges to the contractor twice during the contract. The payments made to the contractor were investigated and it surfaced that Rs209 million excess payment was made by the society management.

Rana Ghulam Farid remained the society president for two consecutive terms from 2011 to 2016. During his tenure, Rs177 million of the Rs209 million excess payment was made.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2018