ISLAMABAD: Another corruption case emerged in the civic agency after it was alleged that the finance wing made duplicate payments to a number of landowners in sectors I-17 and H-16 against their land which was acquired by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for development.

The CDA in 2008-09 had acquired the said two sectors after paying Rs840,000 for each kanal.

According to CDA officials, around 65pc payments have been made hitherto against the land acquired more than a decade ago. However, it was noticed that in many cases, a number of owners were paid twice by the officials concerned which caused a huge loss to the national exchequer.

A senior official in the finance wing confirmed to Dawn that there was an “issue of double payments in many cases”.

Finance wing allegedly paid some landowners in Sector I-17 and H-16 twice

He said that the finance wing was going to conduct a special audit of all payments made by the CDA to the affectees in the said two sectors.

“We have been directed by Member Finance Mazhar Hussain Shah to take steps for the special audit. The member also said that he would hold accountable all the employees involved in this scam,” said the insider.

He added that the audit would be started soon and claimed that there were also unsubstantiated allegations that in some cases payments to the landowners were made three times.

Last month, Member Estate Afnan Alam also pointed out the irregular payments made against the land and brought this issue to the notice of the finance wing through a letter, the official added.

His letter dated February 27 alluding to the application of an affectee stated, “The issue raised in the complaints by the affected persons amount to a pattern of mismanagement and fraud in the land compensation payments of Sector H-16 and I-17. This requires a full inspection and audit per the current regulations, rules, and codal formalities. The director land letter dated October 1, 2021, to [the] member finance also referred to the cases of mismanagement and nonfeasance. However, action has yet to be undertaken considering the pattern of mismanagement and malfeasance. This is despite a lapse of 1.5 years,” read the letter.

It further said: “Your office is requested to take immediate and necessary steps to examine the reported pattern of complaints in payments, especially in sectors H-16 and I-17, and conduct a thorough audit/inspection of the payments in line with the existing codal formalities, rules and regulations.

The letter also requested the finance wing to determine whether the payments were made to the actual affectees and whether the necessary record was available for further verification.

Moreover, for the interest of the authority, it also “needs to be examined whether the payments were being made to local the actual affectees and whether necessary verifications were undertaken at the payments branch and distribution bank authorities”, read the letter.

The member estate also mentioned that his office leaves it to the decision of member finance to continue the said payments to affectees of said sectors until the verifications, inspections, and audit is completed and a comprehensive report is prepared, read the letter.

Meanwhile, sources said that the CDA management was mulling putting an end to the role of middlemen in the disbursement of payments and planning to pay affectees by sending the amount directly to their bank accounts.

The sources said that in the coming days, the CDA will make a decision in this regard. It is also relevant to note here, most of the remaining affectees are not interested to collect the compensation amount, as they have been complaining that payment of Rs840,000 for one kanal of land was peanuts.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2023

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