NAB to file corruption reference against Durrani

Updated 16 May 2019


ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau chairman Justice Javed Iqbal chairs an executive board meeting at NAB headquarters on Wednesday.—INP
ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau chairman Justice Javed Iqbal chairs an executive board meeting at NAB headquarters on Wednesday.—INP

ISLAMABAD: The National Account­ability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday decided to file a corruption reference against Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in an accountability court and conduct investigations and inquiries against some politicians and government officials of Sindh and other provinces.

The decisions were made at a meeting of the NAB Executive Board presided over by chairman of the anti-graft watchdog retired Justice Javed Iqbal and attended by, among others, deputy chairman Hussain Asghar.

A NAB handout said: “A corruption reference would be filed against Agha Siraj Durrani, Speaker Sindh Assembly, and others. They have been accused of making illegal assets by abusing authority, causing Rs600 million loss to national exchequer.”

At a meeting of its regional board in Karachi on April 30, the bureau had sought its chairman’s approval to file a reference against Mr Durrani. The regional board was told that the suspect had accumulated assets to the tune of Rs1.6 billion “much beyond his known sources of income and worth of declared assets,” the press release said.

Sindh Assembly speaker is accused of illegally amassing assets, causing Rs600m loss to national exchequer

“The assets are held by the accused, his family and various benamidars who have been recommended for trial,” the statement said, adding that certain benamidars were personal servants of Mr Durrani and his family members.

Having been arrested from a hotel in Islamabad on Feb 20, Mr Durrani is also being investigated for allegedly making 352 illegal appointments, embezzlement of public funds in the construction of the MPA Hostel (Karachi) and the new Sindh Assembly building, as well as irregularities in the appointment of project directors for these projects.

The NAB Executive Board also approved filing of two other references: one against Mazharul Islam, former executive director of Lok Virsa, Islamabad, for awarding a contract to favourites, causing a loss of Rs30.13m to the national kitty.

The other reference was approved against Fazal Mannan, former director education of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and others for making fake appointments of teachers, causing a loss of Rs.117m to the national exchequer.

The meeting gave a go-ahead for conducting an investigation against Atif Kamran, chief executive officer of Unico Private Limited, a private firm, and others.

Inquiries were authorised against some politicians and officials, including former federal minister for housing and works Akram Durrani, former provincial minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sher Azam Wazir and others; Ali Ghulam Nizamani, former member of the Sindh Assembly; Saeed Khan Nizamani, member of the Sindh Assembly; Mohammad Sohail, former director general of Malir Development Authority, Karachi; Asmatullah, executive engineer, MES, Sialkot Cantonment; certain officials of Karachi Port Trust and Health Department of Sindh; programme manager of Hepatitis Prevention and Control Programme, Sindh, and others; officials of Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan, KP; officials of Food Department, Khuzdar, Balochistan; Abdul Wahab Sehato, executive engineer, Public Health Engineering Division, Larkana, and others; Iqbal Sheikh, a government contractor and others; and management of Chinone Builders and others.

The NAB board referred an inquiry against management/officials of the Sargodha Cattle Market Management and others to the chief secretary of Punjab for action as per law and another inquiry against Rehmattullah Baloch, chief executive officer of Kesco and others to their department for departmental action as per the law.

The NAB board gave its consent to closing inquiries against Senator Hafiz Abdul Karim, former communication minister Usman Abdul Karim; Anas Abdul Karim, Dr Najeeb Haider, former MPA Ghulam Qadir Palijo, Abdul Sattar Dero, former managing director of the Port Qasim Authority, officials of Communication and Works Department and MechaTech Pvt and others due to lack of incriminating evidence at the moment.

The board also approved closure of an investigation against the owners of A.M. Construction Company (Pvt) Limited and others due to lack of incriminating evidence at the moment.

NAB also announced that it was the bureau’s year-long policy to inform the people about the details of the decisions made at meetings of its executive board. “The policy is not aimed at hurting anyone. The investigations and inquiries are initiated on the basis of allegations and as per law NAB proceeds further after obtaining the point of view of the accused and the complainant.”

After the meeting, the NAB chief said taking mega corruption cases to their logical conclusion was his top priority, adding that the bureau was pursuing “accountability for all policy” vigorously.

He said all resources were being utilised to take looted money back from the plunderers. “Corruption is root cause of all ills and its elimination is collective responsibility of all Pakistanis,” he added.

He asked the director generals of NAB not to spare any corrupt person and proclaimed offender and conclude their cases as per law.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2019