ACE alleges Rs1bn graft in two more mega projects in Lahore

Updated December 10, 2019

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In a report presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Anti-Corruption Establishment Director General Gohar Nafees revealed that his department has gathered credible evidence of alleged corruption of Rs1 billion in two more mega projects initiated by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. — File
In a report presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Anti-Corruption Establishment Director General Gohar Nafees revealed that his department has gathered credible evidence of alleged corruption of Rs1 billion in two more mega projects initiated by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. — File

LAHORE: After lodging a criminal case against four senior officials in the Greater Iqbal Park scam, the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) has started scrutiny of two more mega construction projects in Lahore.

The projects, including Azadi Chowk Flyover and Ferozepur Road Signal-Free Corridor, were completed during the previous tenure of the PML-N.

In the Greater Iqbal Park project, the ACE had lodged a case against former project director Chaudhry Tahir Sultan, former Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) director general Mian Shakil, PHA engineering director Irfan Aslam, deputy director engineering Riaz Ahmad and Habib Construction Company Chief Executive Officer Shahid Saleem.

ACE Punjab Director General (DG) Muhammad Gohar Nafees in a report presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday unveiled that his department has gathered credible evidences of alleged corruption of Rs1 billion in two more mega projects initiated by the PML-N.

Completed in 165 days at Rs5.35bn, the Azadi Chowk Flyover had been inaugurated in July 2014 and its total length was 2.53km.

Similarly, the then government had constructed multi-billion-rupee X-shaped bridges with four ramps each on a kilometre belt of Ferozepur Road from Qainchi Amar Sidhu to Chungi Amar Sidhu, allowing traffic on both sides to take U-turns.

In the report, the ACE DG said that the investigation into the Greater Iqbal Park scandal had detected Rs400 million corruption. During initial inquiry, the department found indications of over Rs1bn corruption in two other mega projects.

The report further stated that the ACE Punjab had recovered state land worth Rs 2.65bn during the last 10 years from land mafia across the province. After digital reforms introduced in the department, the ACE recovered state land amounting to Rs127,383m from illegal occupation between August 2018 and November 2019, the report added.

Similarly, the department received 3,176 corruption-related complaints during the same period from across the province. While launching inquiries on 6,883 complaints, the ACE registered 1,954 cases and arrested 2,256 suspects.

The department also recovered Rs1.8bn after completing investigations during August 2018 and November 2019.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019