The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed a corruption reference in Lahore’s accountability court against PTI President Parvez Elahi and 12 others, alleging the receipt of Rs1.23 billion in bribes in connection with development project contracts in Gujrat, it emerged today.
The watchdog has nominated Elahi, along with his son, Moonis, and 11 others in the reference. The father-son duo has been identified as prime suspects, who, according to the reference, have allegedly received the highest kickbacks among all others, totalling Rs744 million.
The ex-chief minister was arrested in the same case in August this year, subsequently being granted bail by the court. Elahi is, presently, confronting several cases, including an FIA money laundering case and allegations of illegal appointments in the Punjab Assembly.
Initially taken into custody on June 1 this year, the former Punjab CM has faced a series of releases and re-arrests, remaining in detention ever since. The legal challenges coincided with the state’s crackdown on the PTI that followed the violent May 9 protests that saw important government and military installations vandalised.
According to the NAB reference filed with the Lahore court, which Dawn.com has seen, the suspects “with dishonest intent and by misusing their authority to collect kickbacks,” sanctioned additional schemes of the Highways Department in two constituencies of Gujrat under the supervision of Elahi, his son Moonis and their close aides.
“They misused their authority and official positions to get appointed their confidant and trustworthy officers in Punjab Highways Department, with dishonest intentions to get illegal monetary gains / kickbacks / commissions for themselves,” the reference claimed.
The watchdog said the “evidence collected and witnesses recorded speaks volume of unlawful actions/misuse of authority with dishonest/illegal intent on the part of accused persons.”
It further alleged that the accused persons allegedly “received kickbacks and commissions as illegal gains and possessed the crime proceeds into different bank accounts to create a financial layering”.
In the reference, NAB Chairman retired Lt-Gen Nazir Ahmed said: “It would be proper and just to proceed further against the accused persons as there is sufficient incriminating material available on record to justify filing of reference against them.”
The NAB has also called for a court trial for the suspects, urging “punishment” in accordance with the law.
After the reference was filed, the watchdog issued a press statement alleging the former CM and his son’s involvement in harming the national exchequer. The statement urged the court to expedite the investigation against the suspects in light of the reference provided by the NAB.
Elahi is one of the co-accused in a case of receiving bribes/kickbacks in exchange for getting the “contracts of road schemes of Gujrat Highways Division awarded to favourite/hand-picked contractors”.
Other co-accused include his son “Moonis Elahi, Mahr Azmat Hayat and others”. The case alleges that Elahi and Moonis were handed over the kickbacks received from Azmat directly as well as through Imtiaz Ali Shah, their accountant.
It further alleges that the co-accused were “involved in causing loss to the government exchequer to the tune of millions of rupees against receipt of commission/kickbacks and committed offences of corruption and corrupt practices” under Section 9(a) of the NAB ordinance, 1999.