NAB to probe corruption in motorway project

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to probe into Rs14 billion losses caused to the national exchequer allegedly by an award of a contract for Karachi-Lahore Motorway’s Abdul Hakeem section (230km).

The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal.

The decision negated a claim of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif that not a single corruption case had surfaced during the tenure of his government.

When the NAB chairman took up the case last month, the bureau had decided to summon former chairman of the National High Authority (NHA) Shahid Ashraf Tarar and contractors of the project.

According to NAB, the inquiry against NHA officers and the contractors has been started on the basis of a complaint of the Transparency International (TI) and some evidence collected by the bureau during its complaint verification process.

“We have started the inquiry into Karachi-Lahore Motorway project after we found some evidences during the complaint verification process,” a NAB official said, adding that the inquiry was ordered into alleged corruption in awarding the contract in violation of laws / rules at exorbitant rates.

Interestingly, Transparency Interna­tional had lodged the complaint two years ago, but former NAB chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry did not take any action.

The NHA had awarded the Rs148bn contract in August 2015, ignoring serious shortcomings in the successful bid.

The meeting also approved a reference against former director general of the Gilyat Development Authority Tariq Hayat Khan and others for allotting its precious land, causing Rs90 million losses to the national exchequer.

NAB also accorded approval to investigations into the allegations against former managing director of the Water and Sanitation Agency Hamid Latif Rana, retired Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal Janjua, retired Brig Iftikhar Mehdi, former finance secretary Mehfooz Ali Khan, former MNAs Mudassar Qayyum Nehra and Azhar Qayyum Nehra and officials of the Sarhad Development Authority.