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LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore on Wednesday arrested four serving and retired senior officials of the Pakistan Railways and the owner of a private company in the signalling system scam.

The arrested officials included Project Director Fahim Anwar Shah, former chief signal engineer Attaullah, former financial adviser and chief accounts officer Dr Muhammad Saeed, Deputy Project Director Muhammad Ahmad and owner of M/s Equinox Moaz Mohiuddin.

According to the NAB, it probed the railways signal system case on complaints of financial embezzlement and misappropriation of government funds worth millions of rupees. The Pakistan Railways had awarded four contracts for upgrading/re-rehabilitation of signaling projects.

Former, current senior officials, private company owner among those arrested

“The first two agreements were for provision of new signalling system from Lahore to Karachi. In 2016, the abovementioned contracts amounting to Rs550 million were awarded to M/s Equinox for providing signalling system and wayside equipment for Bin Qasim Yard. The contract was awarded to the said firm in violation of rules as the said firm was registered in category (C-5) with Pakistan Engineering Council, while category (C-3) was required to get this project. The bidding documents were prepared as per the suitability of M/s Equinox and the required experience was also waived off by the accused officials. M/s Equinox provided imported items worth Rs380m out of the total contract amount, which was Rs550m,” it stated.

The NAB further said that the Customs record revealed that these imported items were purchased at only Rs97m, resultantly the suspects caused a loss of Rs280m to the exchequer. “During the course of proceedings, it is also expected that some more arrests may be made,” it added.

The bureau said it arrested all the suspects after obtaining sufficient evidence of corruption against them and they would be presented before an accountability court on Thursday (today) for obtaining their physical remand.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2019