MULTAN: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested on Thursday six officials of the Multan Metro Bus Project (MMBP).
Project Director Sabir Khan Sadozai, executive engineers Amanat Ali and Riaz Hussain, sub divisional officers Manzoor Ahmed and Rana Wasim and Munam Saeed have been arrested, says a press release.
“The physical remand of the accused will be requested from the National Accountability Bureau judge on Friday (today),” it says.
Sources said the SDOs were arrested in the Multan Development Authority building and others were summoned to the NAB regional office and were taken into custody.
Mr Sadozai was posted on deputation on the project by the Communications and Works Department in the MDA which was the executing agency of the project. He retired on Oct 9, 2015. Later, he was appointed adviser (technical) from Oct 10, 2015 to June 30, 2016 with the emoluments and other benefits as permissible to an officer of BS-20 and the remuneration as per last pay drawn.
The investigation into the alleged corruption in the MMBP was initiated in December 2017 on the direction of the NAB chairman after the Senate Standing Committee on Finance forwarded the case to it. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) did not provide the details of millions of dollars of the project that were illegally sent to China.
Initially it was revealed that the money was sent to a Chinese company called Yabaite Technology Company Limited which had link with Yabaite Pakistan Construction Group Private Limited.
The NAB collected the entire record related to the project after some resistance from the Punjab government and initially estimated that the embezzled amount was Rs2 billion.
A survey was conducted to construct 37-kilometre long route in two phases and its estimated cost was Rs35 billion. Later, it was decided that only first phase would be constructed at a cost of Rs28.37 billion but more than Rs32 billion had been spent to complete the project.
The cost of 35 articulated buses (for metro route) and 100 feeder buses (for various city routes), installation of optical fiber, elevators, lights and other components is not included in the total cost of the project but these expenses were made through the Punjab Mass Transit Authority.
Nine firms participated in pre-qualification for nine packages and it was mutually decided that each firm would get one package which was done accordingly.
Being the consulting firm, Osmani Company Private Limited did geometrical, architectural and structural design and construction supervision of the project.
In the bidding document for the procurement of consultancy service to conduct transport modeling and feasibility of mass transit system, the consultant was directed to not disclose any information relating to the project for 10 years after the expiration of the contract.
Sources said that in order to earn maximum profit, safety of the passengers was put at stake by the constructing firms that reduced the width of the two-lane metro corridors to nine meter from 10 meter. And instead of following the specifications set by the provincial energy department, they said, model numbers and company’s name was mentioned for the purchase of LED lights for the project despite the fact that the executing agency -- MDA -- has no wing to testify the authenticity of the models.
Among other irregularities, according to sources, a company which was hired for the provision of imported glass at metro stations used local glass and a probe was initiated by NAB Multan. It was later hushed up, they added.
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2018