LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) claims to have detected properties worth billions of rupees of Fawad Hasan Fawad, who remained principal secretary to ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, in the Rs14 billion Ashiana Housing Scheme.
In a parallel development, it has decided to file a supplementary reference against former Lahore Development Authority director general Ahad Cheema in the same case after detection of more properties.
“The NAB has detected a multi-storey plaza in Rawalpindi worth billions of rupees belonging to Mr Fawad and members of his family. Besides, a number of transactions worth millions of rupees have been detected in their bank accounts,” a source told Dawn on Tuesday.
The bureau readies supplementary reference against Ahad Cheema
He said the bureau was also probing other assets of Mr Fawad here or abroad and quizzed him to know the source of income to acquire the plaza.
“Fawad has yet to provide money trail about his plaza,” he said, adding that the bureau had written to the Federal Board of Revenue, excise and revenue departments, the Capital Development Authority and the LDA seeking property details of Mr Fawad. Once the bureau unearths illegal property of Fawad, a reference will be filed in the accountability court against him,” the source said and added that Mr Fawad was being probed in both Ashiana scam and the case of having assets beyond his known sources of income.
A briefing was also given to NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal on Tuesday at Lahore office on Mr Fawad’s alleged corruption and misuse of authority in the Ashiana and Paragon City affairs. The chairman ordered filing a supplementary reference against Ahad Cheema in the Ashiana scam after detection of more properties in his and his family members’ names.
Mr Cheema, who was considered a blue-eyed bureaucrat of former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, was arrested by NAB in February last. He is still in NAB custody.
The NAB chief also ordered the officials to seek cancellation of bail of former PML-N MPA Mian Nauman in the Lahore Parking Company case and expedite recovery of the looted money. The NAB has so far recovered Rs80 million in the scam.
NAB Lahore Director General Shahzad Saleem also gave a detailed briefing on the Eden Housing project. “As many as 9,700 claims related to this housing project have been filed with NAB so far,” he said.
The NAB chairman directed the Lahore bureau to expedite the process of selling the property of the Eden Group so that the affected people could be compensated at the earliest. Dr Amjad and his two sons, the owners of the Eden Group, had fled the country and settled in Canada after the Interior Ministry failed to have their names on the Exit Control List (ECL) despite NAB’s request.
The bureau blamed the interior ministry for not placing the names of the owners and directors of the Eden Housing Group on the ECL that enabled them to flee the country. The NAB has not yet initiated any effort to bring the suspects back to the country. However, their (suspects’) lawyers have reportedly engaged the NAB with regard to their properties which are said to be worth over Rs20 billion. No cut-off date has been given to the victims of fraud regarding compensation by the NAB.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had also written to the NAB seeking action against former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry and members of his family for defrauding a number of people in the Eden Housing project. “The Eden housing is a major scandal in Pakistan’s history,” the PTI had declared. Interestingly, the PTI’s move had come in June last apparently to take on Iftikhar Chaudhry for his announcement that he would file a case against PTI chief Imran Khan’s eligibility to hold public office under Article 62 (1)(f) over allegations that he fathered a ‘love child.’
Speaking on the occasion, Javed Iqbal said the bureau had proved from it conduct that it had no soft corner for any political party and politician. “We are conducting investigation against suspects on merit irrespective of their status,” Mr Iqbal said and directed the officials concerned to close those inquiries in which no evidence was found against the suspects.
Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2018