Ex-CDA chief held in culture complex corruption case

Ex-CDA chief held in culture complex corruption case

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday arrested former chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) Imtiaz Inayat Elahi and ex-member finance Saeeduz Zaman for alleged corruption in the construction of the culture complex in Shakarparian.

Work on the project started during the military rule of Gen Pervez Musharraf and is still incomplete.

The two former senior officials were produced before the accountability court from where NAB obtained their seven-day physical remand for further investigations.

“Imtiaz Inayat Elahi and Saeeduz Zaman had dishonestly ordered for stoppage of work on under progress project without cogent reason and misuse of authority causing huge loss to the national exchequer,” NAB said in a statement.

Work on the building in Shakarparian started during Musharraf govt but remains incomplete

The two officials were considered to have strong political backing, especially during the tenure of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

A senior official of NAB told Dawn that both the suspects were arrested on Tuesday from the federal capital under a case referred to NAB by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly at the end of 2015.

“The recently appointed Director General NAB Rawalpindi region Irfan Mangi found enough evidence against the accused and ordered their arrest,” the official said.

It has been learnt that the culture complex case is simply the beginning of a plethora of such corruption cases that surfaced in the CDA.

A large number of corruption cases have been unearthed in the civic agency in the past by NAB and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Mr Elahi is the second CDA chairman after Zafar Iqbal who was arrested by the anti-corruption watchdogs.

The construction of the culture complex was started in mid-2000 when its cost was estimated at Rs1.1 billion.

However, later the cost escalated to Rs2.5 billion. After receiving millions of rupees, the contractor ran away without completing the project.

Under the project, two cinemas, two conference halls, an amphitheatre, a cafeteria, a café and other outlets were to be built on 28.5 acres.

Another senior official said the project was ill-conceived and the contractor - Builder Associates - left the project unfinished for several reasons, including non-payment.

Not only the two arrested officers but also some others were involved in the alleged corruption and negligence in the project. “The role of some other CDA officers will be exposed by NAB in the coming days,” the official added.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2018