LAHORE: The Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) on Friday booked Farhat Shahzadi alias Farah Gogi, a close friend of PTI chief Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi, and her mother and arrested a former acting chief executive officer (CEO) of the Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC) and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) committee secretary in a case of illegal allotment of two industrial plots, measuring 10 acres, to a company owned by Gogi.
According to the first information report (FIR), a probe was initiated into the allegations of illegal allotment of plots to M/s AI-Muez Dairy & Foods (Pvt) Limited with the connivance of officer/officials of FIEDMC. The inquiry team comprised ACE director vigilance, deputy director (vigilance) and inspector/HQ.
It further stated that during the inquiry proceedings, the ACE team found illegalities committed by FIEDMC former CEO Rana Muhammad Yousaf, SEZ committee secretary Maqsood Ahmed and others.
The probe report said Farhat Shahzadi and her mother Bushra Khan established a company registered with the Security & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) with the name of ‘AI-Muez Dairy & Foods (Private) Limited’ on Nov 26, 2020. The company submitted its first manual application through its director Farhat Shahzadi to the FIEDMC acting CEO on Nov 30, 2020 for allotment of a plot measuring 10.5 acres in M3 Faisalabad Industrial Zone. The acknowledgment of the application was issued by the FIEDMC on Dec 9, 2020 to AI-Muez Dairy & Foods (Private) Limited after which the company was asked to provide documents to process the allotment, including construction schedule, utility services (electricity, gas, etc) and business plan/feasibility of the project.
Two plots worth Rs600m were allotted in Faisalabad for Rs83m
As per the version of Abdul Samie, DG of the SEZ and a member SEZ committee, the application could not be processed as the mode of submission of application was “changed from manual to online system after the notification of 11SEZ Zone Enterprise Admission and Sale, Lease and Sub-Lease of Plot Regulations 2021 dated Jan 15, 2021”.
The application was examined by Muhammad Yousaf and Maqsood Ahmad who recommended the case for the approval by the SEZ committee.
Maqsood Ahmad, SEZ committee secretary, issued notice for 25th meeting of the SEZ committee scheduled to be held on Oct 25, 2021 at FIEDMC office in Faisalabad in which the application for allotment of plot No 255 & 256 at phase-2 of M3-IC to M/s AI-Muez Dairy & Foods (Private) Limited and its admission as zone enterprise was a part of the agenda items”.
The SEZ committee meeting was held on Oct 25 and 27, 2021, in two sessions in which the allotment of both the plots and admission of Zone Enterprise was approved.
According to the probe report, the “meeting was attended and its minutes were signed by five members which is a violation of rules 39(4) of Rules 2013 and Regulation 3(14) of the SEZ Zone enterprises admission and sale, lease and sub-lease of plot regulations 2021 which requires the 75pc mandatory quorum of the SEZ committee in order to make any decision, which means that the meeting should have been attended by at least 6 members in order to make any decision regarding the allotment of plots and admission as Zone Enterprise. One of the members of SEZ Committee i.e. the representative of DC Office Faisalabad Rana Tahir Mehmood joined the enquiry proceedings and stated that he neither participated in the 25th meeting of SEZ committee nor did he sign the minutes of meeting”.
The Zone Enterprise admission letter for the allotment of both plots was issued to AI-Muez Dairy & Foods (Private) Limited on Oct 29, 2021 by Muhammad Yousaf, acting CEO/chairperson SEZ Committee. Consequently, the M/s AI-Muez Dairy & Foods (Private) Limited was issued a provisional allotment letter on Dec 6, 2021.
It surfaced during the enquiry proceedings that Mr Yousaf assumed the charge of CEO FIEDMC on Oct 20, 2021 on an acting basis and he got approval of the allotment of plot to M/s AI-Muez Dairy & Foods (Private) Limited in haste without fulfilling the requirements as mentioned in the Act and rules & regulations.
The probe alleged that Mr Yousaf and Maqsood Ahmad as chairperson and secretary of the SEZ committee, respectively while signing the checklist, gave undue benefit to the company replying upon the undertakings submitted by Mst Farhat Shahzadi (CEO), Bushra Khan (director) of the company and Ahsan Jameel, husband of Farhat Shahzadi, for provision of necessary funds, if required.
According to the probe, the “project cost stipulated by the company was Rs1.05bn whereas the net worth as per the wealth statement submitted by Ms Shahzadi is about Rs700m and total capital value (share) of the company worth Rs20m therefore neither the company nor the director and CEO of company had capital as required for investment in Special Economic Zone I FIDEMIC as per law”.
The plots were allotted on a subsidised rate offered by the government that was Rs83m but their market value was about Rs600m.
The report alleged the members of the SEZ committee of FIEDMC, in violation of rules, allotted precious land/plot to the company and committed criminal breach of trust and caused a loss to the national exchequer.
“The competent authority has approved the registration of case against Rana Muhammad Yousaf, Maqsood Ahmad, Farhat Shahzadi and her mother Bushra Khan.
“However, the role of Ahsan Jameel who gave the undertaking in favour of Farhat Shehzadi for provision of funds and others, including members of SEZ committee who were signatories of minutes of 25th meeting of SEZ committee, is ordered to be determined during the course of investigation,” the report said.
Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2022