ISLAMABAD: The Natio­nal Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday arrested Iftikhar Rahim, a former secretary of the Workers’ Welfare Fund (WWF), in connection with a reference related to embezzlement and misuse of authority.

The other accused in this case are former WWF director general Zahid Rashid and director Afzal Hameed and CDA union leader Amanullah Khan.

They were members of the financial bid opening committee of the WWF. The committee was constituted to examine the financial proposal of the bids received in response to a tender notice for procurement of land for a medical college and teaching hospital in Islamabad.

According to NAB, the accused willfully and knowingly recommended purchase of 150 kanals of land at a rate of Rs3.7 million per kanal.

The reference claimed that the accused caused a loss of more than Rs530m to the national exchequer.

NAB also claimed that the federal government, in collaboration with the provincial government, had initiated a project worth more than Rs2 billion titled “Water Conservation and Productivity Enhancement through High Efficiency Irrigation system in Pakistan” for the purpose of increasing agriculture production by using available irrigation water efficiently during 2007-2012.

“During the course of inquiry, it came to surface that 182 such schemes worth Rs320m were approved. These included 158 schemes initiated in 15 districts of Khyber Pakhtun­khwa,” NAB stated.

It noted that most of the schemes were undertaken in Bannu and Lakki Marwat districts. Only five such schemes were found functional while the rest were non-functional, it said.

“The accused, in connivance with each other, released payments for bogus schemes and for incomplete schemes,” NAB alleged.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2020