ISLAMABAD: Amid opposition’s allegations of carrying out one-sided accountability, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at its executive board meeting on Monday reviewed progress in several cases of alleged corruption in the PTI-ruled KP province, including the Malam Jabba case, illegal appointments in Bank of Khyber (BoK) and the Billion Tree Tsunami (BTT) project scam.
According to a handout, the meeting was presided over by NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal and attended by NAB’s deputy chairman and prosecutor general whereas the director general, operations, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa attended the meeting via video link.
The executive board decided to obtain the certified copy of Peshawar High Court’s verdict in the Malam Jabba case and, the handout says, further course of action will be decided in the light of the court’s judgement.
The anti-graft watchdog has been probing the Malam Jabba skiing resort land lease to a private party by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government in 2014. Former chief minister and present defence minister Pervaiz Khattak is facing the investigation in the matter.
NAB claims that the then KP government had illegally leased 275 acres of land in Malam Jabba, a tourist resort in Swat district, which belongs to the forest department.
According to NAB, protected forests cannot be used for any other purpose under the KP Forest Ordinance, 2002. NAB claimed that initially the government had to lease out 17 acres for the construction of a hotel and a chairlift project for 15 years but later it allegedly leased out 275 acres to a private firm for 33 years.
The NAB’s executive board authorised investigation into appointments which were made in BoK, Peshawar, allegedly in violation of rules.
The board reviewed progress in the ongoing inquiries in the BTT project case, accumulation of assets made beyond known sources of income by PML-N’s Amir Muqam and retired Captain Mohammad Safdar and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Sher Azam Wazir. It also reviewed progress into investigations against Nawabzada Mehmood Zaib and Usman Saifullah and others.
The executive board decided to conduct the ongoing inquiries and investigations independently and transparently on the basis of concrete evidence after getting the point of view of the suspects, so that all requirements of justice could be fulfilled. It said that no inquiry and investigation will be completed unheard.
Chairman Javed Iqbal said NAB was committed to eradicating corruption by putting in serious efforts in order to make a corruption-free Pakistan.
Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2020