Order to appoint official assignee in Fazaia housing land scam suspended

Updated 20 Jun 2020

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Last week, the SHC’s single bench had issued an order on a suit of affectees, ordered refund of principal amounts to all the victims within six months. — File photo
Last week, the SHC’s single bench had issued an order on a suit of affectees, ordered refund of principal amounts to all the victims within six months. — File photo

KARACHI: A division bench of the Sindh High Court on Friday suspended the judgement of a single bench to appoint an official assignee to refund money to the affectees of the Fazaia Housing Scheme.

Last week, the SHC’s single bench had issued an order on a suit of affectees, ordered refund of principal amounts to all the victims within six months and appointed an official assignee to immediately attach the project land and assets.

The Directorate of Estate Projects of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and builders Tanveer Ahmed and Bilal Tanveer of M/s Maxim Properties through their counsel challenged the order before a division bench of the SHC.

The division bench headed by Justice Omar Sial suspended the earlier judgement and issued notices to the respondents for July 22.

Earlier, the single-judge bench had also ruled that there were around 8,000 claimants and billions of rupees were to be disbursed and in the interest of transparency a regular audit of all transactions would be made after every three months.

SHC passes order on the plea of PAF, builders against the judgement of a single bench

It directed the official assignee to immediately open a bank account in a branch of a private bank located on the premises of the SHC in the name of affectees and all the sums lying in the parent accounts would be transferred to this account for disbursement among the affectees after due authentication.

The bench further ordered that in order to safeguard the interests of the affectees/allottees, the project assets in the indicated sum of Rs1,090.93 million will be immediately attached and given in the custody of the Nazir of this court.

It may be recalled that on May 19, a two-judge SHC bench had allowed the Directorate of Estate Projects, PAF and builders to settle all the liabilities of the Fazaia Housing Scheme and refund the amounts of the allottees within six months.

The bench had also directed the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau to suspend the investigation into this matter and supervise and facilitate both sides to fulfil their agreements and ensure that all the affected people were repaid in full within shortest period of time.

The two-judge bench headed by Justice K.K. Agha had directed the jail authorities to release both the confined builders so that they may fulfil their obligations, but directed the ministry of interior to place their names on the exit control list.

The bench had also ruled that if either side failed to comply with their obligations under their respective affidavits for settlement of all liabilities within six months, the NAB chairman may revive the investigation/inquiry against the builders or any other persons involved in the project with cheating the public.

However, it also said that if either party required further time to carry out the obligations or NAB, they may approach the bench seeking more time to complete responsibilities on furnishing reasonable grounds.

M/s Maxim had entered into a joint venture agreement with the Directorate of Estate Projects, PAF in 2015 in order to create the “Fazaia Housing Scheme Karachi” and public were given an opportunity to apply for plots. A large number of people paid substantial amounts of money in respect of such plots.

NAB had arrested the builders for allegedly depriving the public of around Rs13bn through investments in the scheme.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2020