ISLAMABAD: Following the detection of new cases of allotment fraud, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is going to reshuffle a large number of officials in the land directorate today (Monday).

CDA spokesperson Mazhar Hussain confirmed that a “massive reshuffle is on the cards”, adding: “We will post out a number of employees from the land directorate on Monday”.

Mr Hussain did not give a reason for the reshuffle, but said the step would ensure transparency in allotment cases.

Sources said that the CDA’s security directorate recently informed CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed about alleged allotment fraud in various sectors, including D-13. They said that, on Mr Ahmed’s directions, a list of a large number of land directorate employees to be posted out of the directorate was finalised.

Step comes after more allotment fraud cases were detected; spokesperson says reshuffle will ensure transparency

The sources said these staffers were accused of being involved in fake allotment cases and had allegedly allotted plots in D-13, I-12 and I-11 on the basis of bogus files and fake signatures. However, the plots themselves have not yet been cancelled.

A CDA officer said: “First, we will post out officials allegedly involved in allotment fraud cases, then we will cancel the allotments before starting a proper inquiry against them.”

CDA high-ups, after reports of alleged fake allotment cases, had directed that no plots would be transferred without first being cleared by a scrutiny committee, which is supposed to determine if the documents plots are allotted on are genuine and whether the process was transparent.

Up until this March, sources said many individuals used fraudulent means to have plots allotted in various sectors - particularly D-13, E-13 and I-12 and in connivance with land directorate officials had them transferred. However, these allotment cases are now stalled because of the involvement of the committee.

The sources said the allotments were made under backdated signatures to make it seem like the allotments were made in 2016.

They added that when Director Land Shafi Marwat formed the scrutiny committee, some employees attempted to remove file records, but were prevented from doing so by the director and the security directorate.

A letter issued by Mr Marwat on June 12 stated that without approval from the scrutiny committee, the land directorate could not issue no demand certificates for plot transfers. The letter also asked the one-window operation wing not to entertain any land transfer case involving affected people without the committee’s approval.

The CDA’s security directorate also found that more than 300 allotments were bogus or backdated last year.

On the basis of the directorate’s report last September, CDA high-ups began a formal inquiry into the fraud which has not yet been completed.

In 2017, the CDA made a policy under which future plots would be allotted to affected people - those whose land has been acquired by the CDA and who are entitled to plots in exchange in residential sectors - only through balloting. But land directorate officials began carrying out allotments with backdated signatures to avoid the balloting process.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2020