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National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference against Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) ready

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has finalised a reference against top officials of Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) Foundation for corruption amounting to Rs90 million through illegal recruitment of employees, illegal allotment of flats and irregularities in official renovation work.

Sources said most of the illegally hired employees belong to Jhang, the constituency former federal minister for housing and works Faisal Saleh Hayat.

However, NAB sources said the name of minister is not yet included in the reference.

“The name of the former minister is not part of the reference but he could be probed if we get evidence against him during further investigations,” said an official requesting anonymity.

When contacted, a NAB spokesman said the investigation into PHA Foundation scam is still in process and no further detail could be shared with the media on this issue.

When contacted, Faisal Saleh Hayat denied allegations of inducting employees from his constituency and alleged that a senior official of NAB Rawalpindi was himself involved in corruption.

“When I was the Minister for Housing, I introduced provincial quota for jobs in the ministry. After the implementation of quota how can the majority of employees be inducted from my constituency which is part of Punjab?” he questioned.

He said a senior NAB official who had served in PHA before joining the Bureau was himself involved in illegally hiring 18 persons from his area. “The entire reference is based on personal vendetta,” he said.

Sources said majority of the illegally recruited employees are still working in various government departments and action against them would be initiated soon.

According to sources, the reference will soon be filed in an accountability court by the Rawalpindi wing of the NAB after the approval of the Bureau’s chairman in the executive board meeting (EBM).

The investigations of the Bureau revealed that a former managing director of the PHA Foundation and his other subordinates used the Foundation as their own private company recruiting several hundred employees without any requirement, spending lavishly on renovation through hand-picked contractor and allotting the government flats to his blue-eyed guys.

Sources said the massive corruption resulted in effectively paralysing the PHA Foundation which is aimed at providing low-cost accommodation to government employees through various development projects.

Such was the impact of the corruption that the PHA which was working on 14 projects in 2010 is now unable to work on a single new project owing to scarcity of money caused by misuse of funds.

Non-qualified and inexperienced persons were hired on lucrative senior posts in utter disregard to relevant regulations.

The Foundation also hired 158 employees in maintenance wing on a collective monthly salary of Rs2.2 million per month. NAB could not find any record of any advertisement, written test and interviews for these employees.

The former MD and other PHA officials are also accused of Rs16.38 million corruptions in the renovation of Shaheed-e-Millat Secretariat.

Sources said the tender was awarded in violation of PPRA Rules as no competitive bidding was carried out.

These officials are also accused of misuse of authority by allotment of 24 cancelled apartments in I-11, G-10/2 and G-11/3 Islamabad. The allotment was subsequently cancelled upon the intervention of NAB.
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