MULTAN: School Education Special Secretary (Reforms) Shanul Haq on Saturday appeared before the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) in connection with an inquiry over allegedly bogus payments worth millions made through his fake signatures besides other allegations of embezzlement in the Multan Metropolitan Corporation (MC).

Mr Haq, who is also a former commissioner, was issued a notice to appear before the ACE by its deputy director.

“The matter under the inquiry is of fake signatures/approvals, illegal declaration of urgency and award of contracts to favourite contractors, payment at exorbitant rates and bogus payments of fuel in Pakistan Super League event 2020.

Moreover, the matter of bogus payments and fake signatures in the work of Covid-19, Ehsas Kafalat Centres, Kashmir Day, Bakar Mandi and development works is also being inquired. During proceedings, it has also been noticed by the inquiry team that the approval of all works, payment to various contractors and auxiliary matters pertaining to the allegations have been accorded by you while posted as commissioner Multan/administrator MC.

The inquiry proceedings did so far prima facie reveal huge quantum of malpractice, loss to the state exchequer, irregular and irrational payments in above mentioned work. Your role as sanctioning authority has to be ascertained to conclude the enquiries on merit and in accordance with law,” the notice stated.

Besides Haq, Development and Finance Director Waqas Khakwani and several other former and serving MC officials were asked to appear before the investigation officer. All the suspects were provided a questionnaire and asked to submit their replies within two weeks.

Some of the MC officers in a petition filed with the Lahore High Court Multan bench stated that a notorious person had lodged a complaint against them with the Prime Minister’s Citizen Portal despite the fact he was blacklisted by the ACE.

They alleged that the ACEMultandirector (general) was vindictive towards the petitioners and the MC for allegedly not sanctioning the rehabilitation of a road where ACE DG Gohar Nafees resided.

They requested the court to declare the notices issued to them illegal, a result of vindictive mind and besides quashing, set aside the proceedings against them.

Justice Chaudhry Abdul Aziz directed the ACE not to take adverse action against the petitioners till the next date of hearing.

ACE Director Haidar Abbas Wattoo termed the petitioners’ allegations regarding the rehabilitation of the road baseless.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2020

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