LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday arrested excise and taxation department former director general Akram Ashraf Gondal in the liquor licence case in which Chief Minister Usman Buzdar is accused of receiving bribes.

According to NAB Lahore, Gondal by misusing his authority, illegally granted L-2 category licence to a private hotel, whereas, it (hotel) was not even eligible for securing liquor licence.

“It had not obtained 4/5 star ratings which is a necessary condition for obtaining the L-2 category licence. The L-2 was granted to the hotel in-question without first obtaining a 4/5 star rating certificate from the department of tourist services, Punjab. Moreover, the former DG did not follow other necessary procedures and codal formalities for issuance of licence which had been mandatory according to the law and prescribed policy,” it said.

The bureau said Akram Ashraf Gondal also managed to obtain no objection certificates (NOCs) from different departments through his co-accused (ETO) who issued letters for having NOCs regarding giving L-2 category licence to facilitate the private hotel.

“It has also been disclosed during inquiry that the accused technically manoeuvred the whole process to grant L-2 category liquor licence to the hotel without its eligibility,” it said and added he would be produced before an accountability court for his physical remand.

Chief Minister Buzdar is also facing NAB allegations that he received Rs50 million [as bribe] to force the excise and taxation department head to issue a liquor licence to an under-construction hotel in violation of the law.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2020