LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader MNA Khwaja Saad Rafique faces another ‘major embezzlement’ investigation by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in railways land lease.
NAB Chairman retired justice Javed Iqbal has authorised an inquiry against Mr Rafique, former railways minister, after the bureau’s investigators reportedly detected his alleged involvement in leasing out ‘precious commercial land’ of railways for ‘financial gains’.
“Commercial land of railways located at Lahore, Kasur and Faisalabad was illegally leased out for 33 years without due diligence. The land also includes precious state land specifically for filling station sites and commercial shops. The lease agreements signed are dubious and terms and conditions are vague,” an official source told Dawn on Friday.
“Railway land is the state land which cannot be leased out in any case but then railways minister Saad Rafique leased it out in violation of rules through companies constituted by Railways such as REDAMCO (Railway Estate Development and Marketing Company Pvt Ltd)) etc,” he said.
The source further said there were certain instances where the land was leased first to some limited company but subsequently the same was illegally transferred in the names of ‘front men’ of Rafique.
The NAB Lahore on Dec 11 arrested Saad Rafique and his brother former Punjab health minister Khawaja Salman Rafique in connection with the Paragon Housing Society scam. Both are in NAB custody on physical remand.
The NAB has also initiated income beyond means probe against the Khwaja brothers. Besides, the bureau is also looking into some contracts of buying locomotives during the tenure of Saad Rafique as railways minister.
Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2018