LAHORE: A senior bureaucrat arrested in the Rs1 billion Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) scam told an accountability court on Wednesday that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) pressurised him into becoming “approver” against former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.
The NAB presented Mr Ajmal, BS-20 officer, before the court to seek his physical remand as he was arrested the other day.
The bureaucrat previously served as managing director of LWMC and chief executive officer of the Punjab Saaf Pani Company.
During his appearance, Mr Ajmal stated before the court that the investigating officer, during the interrogation, kept persuading him to become an approver against the former chief minister.
He said the NAB possessed complete record of the case but it wanted to extract a ‘confessional’ statement from him. “The NAB had also put same pressure on me in Saaf Pani case,” said Ajmal adding the bureau previously kept him in custody for 48 days in the Saaf Pani case but did not interrogate him beyond two hours. He claimed that the NAB wasted precious time of his career and found nothing against him. The Lahore High Court had released Ajmal on bail in the Saaf Pani case on Jan 30 last.
“I want justice,” said Ajmal to the court.
Earlier, NAB Special Prosecutor Hafiz Asadullah Awan submitted an application before the court seeking 15-day physical remand of the suspect.
To a court’s query, the prosecutor said the suspect was a BS-20 officer and previously served as MD of the LWMC.
A prior approval by chairman of the NAB was required to arrest an officer of over BS-17, said the prosecutor when asked whether the bureau needed any authorisation to arrest government officers.
Departmental head of any accused officer was not required, under the law, to be taken into loop before making the arrest, Mr Awan responded to another query by the court.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor argued that then chief minister Shahbaz Sharif awarded the contract in-question to a Turkish company-Al-Bayrak.
“Did it cause any loss to the government?” asked the court.
The prosecutor said the contract on inflated rates caused a loss of over Rs1 billion to the national exchequer.
He said Ajmal being MD and team leader of the LWMC held a meeting on April 26, 2014, in which he intentionally concealed details from other board members.
Ajmal’s counsel Mian Ali Ashfaq opposed the remand and said his client had to attend a three-month course for promotion in next grade.
The court, however, granted 10-day physical remand of the accused to the NAB and sought his appearance again on Nov 20.
The NAB also alleged that Ajmal was found involved in illegal payments of $96,000 in the name of fake exemptions.
It said the LWMC initiated tendering process for outsourcing of Solid Waste Management Services in Rawalpindi and Murree in 2012.
Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2019