KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau and the builders on an application against the procedure to disburse money to the affectees of the Fazaia Housing Scheme.

The affectees through their counsel moved the court against an earlier order of the SHC and also expressed the apprehension that the money might be disbursed to the persons who were not the allottees of the project.

The two-judge bench headed by Justice Omar Sial issued notices to NAB and the builders for July 22 when the connected matters are fixed for hearing.

It also directed NAB to continue its process of inviting claims and verifying the same, but cautioned that no money would be released till next hearing from the accounts which had been attached.

The lawyers for the affectees submitted that on May 19 a divisional bench of the SHC had passed an order in which the builders were given six months to compensate the allottees of the project.

They further argued that on June 11 a single-judge bench of the SHC passed an order in a suit and directed that the amount of compensation be deposited within 15 days.

However, they submitted that the single bench order was suspended by a two-judge bench of the SHC on June 19 on an appeal filed by the builders and the Directorate of Estate Projects of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

The lawyers alleged that the builders and NAB had obtained the May 19 order through misrepresentations and collusion between the two parties to the detriment of the allottees.

They further said that the alleged collusion between NAB and the builders was evident from the fact that on June 22 NAB had published an advertisement in the press in which the orders of this court had been misrepresented and claims from the allottees had been invited.

However, the counsel argued that the allottees of the project had not been called by NAB in connection with their claims and expressed the apprehension that under the grab of various orders passed by the SHC money from the accounts of the Fazaia Housing Scheme might be disbursed to persons who were not allottees of the project.

“Let in the first instance, notice be issued to the respondents for 22.7.2020 when the connected matters are fixed for hearing. In the meantime, NAB shall continue its process of inviting claims and verify the same, however, no money from the accounts which had been attached and for which CMA N.1005/2020 is pending adjudication in HCA No.112/2020 shall be released till next date of hearing,” the bench in its order ruled.

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.

While releasing the builders, the bench had also directed the NAB chairman 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 the shortest period of time.

On June 11, the single-judge bench had 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 the affectees and all the sums lying in the parent accounts would be transferred to this account for disbursement among the affectees after due authentication. It had also directed the official assignee to immediately attach the project land and assets.

The PAF directorate and builders Tanveer Ahmed and Bilal Tanveer of M/s Maxim Properties through their counsel challenged the single-judge order before a division bench of the SHC and on June 19 the divisional bench had suspended the order of the single-judge bench.

M/s Maxim had entered into a joint venture agreement with the PAF directorate in 2015 to create the Fazaia Housing Scheme Karachi and members of the public were given an opportunity to apply for plots. A large number of people paid substantial amounts in respect of such plots. In January this year, NAB had arrested the builders for allegedly depriving the public of around Rs13 billion through investments in the scheme.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2020


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