Warrant out for Gen Kayani’s brother in housing scheme scam

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LAHORE: An accountability court on Thursday issued warrants for the arrest of Kamran Kayani, brother of former army chief retired Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Paragon City Housing Society’s director Nadeem Zia and another in the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam.

As the court resumed hearing on the reference in the housing scam, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) produced three suspects, including former principal secretary to the prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad, former director general of the Lahore Development Authority Ahad Khan Cheema and Shahid Shafique of Bismillah Engineering. They were on judicial remand.

According to a Tribune media report, a NAB prosecutor told the court that Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, also an accused in the case, was in Islamabad on transit remand to chair meetings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). He said Kamran Kayani, Nadeem Zia and Khalid Hussain never joined the investigation despite repeated summons and that NAB had declared them absconders.

At this, Judge Syed Najamul Hassan issued arrest warrants for the three absconders and handed over copies of the reference to the three suspects present in the court. A lawyer appeared on behalf of Mr Sharif and received a copy of the reference. The judge adjourned further hearing till Jan 10.

Kamran Kayani has already been declared an absconder in the Rs15 billion DHA-City (Lahore) scam. NAB had issued his arrest warrants in the case and also asked the Ministry of Interior in 2017 to take up the matter with Interpol for the issuance of his red warrants. However, the red warrants were yet to be issued.

NAB in its reference accused Shahbaz Sharif of misusing his powers as the chief minister of Punjab. It said the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) following due approval of its board of directors (BoD) awarded the contract for infrastructure development of the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal housing scheme to successful bidder namely M/S Ch. A. Latif & Sons in 2013.

It said the PLDC issued Rs75 million as mobilisation advance to the contractor company whereas no complaint had been received by the company’s BoD against the bidding process. However, then chief minister Sharif acting unlawfully on a so-called complaint assumed powers of the PLDC’s BoD referred the matter to the Anti-Corruption Establishment to kneel down the successful bidder.

He said the investigation revealed that a company namely CONPRO Services (Pvt) Limited, which filed the so-called complaint, had bribed then Punjab secretary implementation Fawad Hassan Fawad. The complainant company is believed to be owned by Kamran Kayani, NAB alleged.

The reference said the former chief minister without a lawful authority ordered the PLDC to entrust the housing project to the LDA when Mr Sharif’s close aide Ahad Cheema was heading the authority as its director general. It said the LDA undertook the project under public-private partnership to give unlawful benefit to a blue eyed firm M/S Bismillah Engineering Services, which was proxy firm of M/S Paragon City (Pvt) Limited.

NAB also accused Mr Cheema of misusing his authority with criminal intent and awarding Rs14 billion contracts of the low-cost housing scheme. It said Mr Cheema received illegal gratification in form of 32 kanals land from the owners of Paragon developers as a reward of the contract.

The bureau alleged that Mr Fawad cancelled the contract and awarded the same to M/s Lahore Casa Developers on an inflated price. It said the government had to pay Rs6 million as fine to the successful bidder.