ISLAMABAD: Mystery shrouds the allotment of shops in the flower market of F-8 earlier this year, as the then chief operating officer and the director Municipal Administration (DMA) stated that all allotment letters were fake.

On the other hand, the so-called allottees got possession of the 11 shops a few days ago but the DMA sealed them on Wednesday.

The flower market was constructed by the Capital Development Authority a few years ago. Later, the CDA handed it over to the DMA, an organisation of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI).

Sources said the allottees had been claiming that the letters were issued in January this year when MCI Chief Officer Syed Ali Asghar was also holding the acting charge of the DMA director.

The sources said the file of the case was also available with the DMA and last month when reports emerged about the alleged allotments an inquiry was ordered by Deputy Director General MCI Laiq Zaman.

However, the two-member inquiry committee is yet to make any progress.

The sources said as per rules the shops should have been allotted through an open auction. However, if the claim of the allottees is true, it means only selected people were allotted the shops.

The scam took a new twist when a former director DMA, who is still the chief officer of the MCI, denied giving any approval for the file.

Speaking to Dawn on Friday, Syed Ali Asgharsaid: “The allotment letters in questions are fake. I had nothing to do with this so-called file,” he said.

Asked if he had not given any approval, would he send the case to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for initiating action against those involved , he said: “Currently, I am on leave and upon rejoining duty I will surely take action,” he said.

On the other hand, when contacted, the current DMA Director Shakil Arshad, who got the shops sealed, said the file of the allotment case was available in the record of DMA.

“We are checking the record. Some DMA officers are saying that their signature on the file were fake. One thing is clear, we will allot these shops through an open auction in accordance with rules,” he said.

An official of the DMA said the scam warranted a proper inquiry by FIA or NAB to reach the truth. “If the shops were allotted without conducting an open auction, action should be taken against the concerned officers and if the signatures are fake, all those who did this should be taken to task,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2022

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