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Punjab minister Sibtain Khan arrested by NAB in Lahore

Updated June 14, 2019

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The minister was allegedly involved in corruption and illegal award of contracts, according to NAB. ─ Photo courtesy Punjab Assembly website
The minister was allegedly involved in corruption and illegal award of contracts, according to NAB. ─ Photo courtesy Punjab Assembly website

Punjab Minister for Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries Sibtain Khan was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday in connection with a case pertaining to corruption and illegal award of contracts.

A NAB Lahore statement issued to announce the arrest said he was taken into custody during an inquiry.

According to NAB, Khan had in July 2007, as the Punjab Minister for Mines and Minerals, been involved in the illegal award of a multi-billion rupee contract for 500 metric tonnes of iron ore in Rajwah and Chiniot to a company of his choice called Earth Resource Pvt Ltd, the statement said.

The contract, which deviated from existing laws, was awarded to ERPL through connivance with other suspects, NAB said. The company was awarded the contract despite not having previous experiencing in mining.

According to the Punjab Mines Department, no other company was considered during the bidding process for the contract, NAB Lahore said.

The department had also appeared satisfied over having to contribute just 20 per cent to the project, which made the joint venture illegal, the statement said.

According to the suspects, Sibtain was behind the Rs2.5 million sale of mineral deposits worth billions of rupees to a company. Additionally, the suspects said that the project's details had never been provided to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan although work on it was ongoing, NAB Lahore said.

NAB Lahore began proceedings in the case when it was referred to the accountability watchdog by the Lahore High Court.

NAB Lahore officials will present Khan before an accountability court to obtain his physical remand, the statement said.