LAHORE: An accountability court in Lahore on Tuesday sent former Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general Ahad Cheema and chief executive officer (CEO) of Bismillah Engineering Shahid Shafiq to jail on a judicial remand in the Ashiana Housing Scheme case.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials produced Cheema, the prime accused in the Ashiana Housing Scheme case, and Shafiq before the court on Tuesday amid tight security.
Accountability court judge Najamul Hasan was informed by NAB officials that Cheema was arrested on February 21 after the bureau detected illegalities and corruption worth billions in a deal between Paragon Housing Society and Punjab Land Development Company to construct the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Society.
Punjab Land Development Company signed an agreement on January 20, 2015 and 16,000 poor citizens paid Rs61 million for the Ashiana Housing Scheme, however, the project was not close to completion even after three years, the NAB officials told the court.
They further alleged that Cheema awarded a contract of the Ashiana-e-Iqbal housing project of approximately Rs14 billion to Lahore Casa Developers — a joint-venture which was ineligible for the contract.
Owing to the ineligibility of the companies, the government had to bear a loss of over Rs64.5 million, the NAB officials added.
After hearing the arguments of the NAB officials, the court sent Cheema and Shafiq to jail on judicial remands after their 90-day and 87-day physical remands ended.
On March 17, the Punjab government suspended Cheema from service for three months.
According to a notification issued by the Punjab government, Cheema’s suspension will start from the day he was arrested by the NAB and will last for three months.
Cheema, a grade-19 employee, was serving as the chief executive of Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Limited when he was arrested.
The sources in Punjab Civil Secretariat said that notification of Cheema’s arrest was issued after approval from the federal government.
Cheema was arrested on February 21 after NAB detected illegalities and corruption worth billions in a deal between Paragon Housing Society and Punjab Land Development Company to construct the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Society, a low-cost project of the Punjab government.