LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore has summoned Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on January 22 in connection with the Ashiana housing scheme inquiry.
The bureau has been conducting an inquiry against the officials of the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC), Lahore Casa Developers, Lahore Development Authority and others, said a notification issued by NAB Lahore on Wednesday.
The aim of the Ashiana housing scheme – an initiative of the Punjab government, was to provide economical and adequate residential facilities to the people with low-incomes and the government had invested Rs2 billion while acquiring 672 kanals of land in the Muloani Harlan area near Darbar Baba Noor Shah.
The NAB letter read that the prima facie Shehbaz Sharif, being the Punjab chief minister, ordered “cancellation of award of contract of Ashiana-e-Iqbal to successful bidder M/s Ch Latif and Sons, leading to award of contract to M/s Lahore Casa Developers (J.V), a proxy of M/s Paragon City (Pvt) Limited, which resulted into loss of Rs193 million approximately.”
Shehbaz directed “PLDC to assign the project Ashiana-e-Iqbal to Lahore Development Authority (LDA) resulting into award of contract to M/s Lahore Casa Developers (JV), thus causing loss of Rs715 million approximately and ultimately failure of project,” it said.
The letter further said that Shehbaz “directed PLDC to award consultancy services of Ashiana-e-Iqbal project to M/s Engineering Consultancy Services Punjab (ECSP) for Rs192 million approximately, whereas actual cost was Rs35 million as quoted by NESPAK.”
NAB’s probing into illegal housing schemes:
Earlier, the bureau had asked for the complete details of both the Ashiana housing scheme and the Paragon housing society for an investigation into the illegal housing schemes matter.
The accountability bureau’s decisions came following the complaints regarding an ‘illegal deal’ between the companies overlooking the affairs of the Paragon housing scheme and the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC), which allegedly involved 3,000 kanals of government land.
It may be noted that the Paragon housing scheme is owned by the minister for railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique, while the National Accountancy Bureau earlier had also summoned the details regarding the Park View Villas and Rivery Edge housing scheme, owned by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf leader Aleem Khan.