Punjab to probe, LDA corruption, nepotism

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LAHORE: The Punjab government is planning to conduct a large-scale investigation into charges of corruption, nepotism, abuse of power and financial mismanagement in the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), Pakistan Today has learnt.
The LDA has come under fire after surfacing of tendering scandals, faulty commercialisation policy, manipulation in 100 plots for LDA employees, silence over action against illegal housing schemes, missing files regarding high-rising buildings, corruption in leasing properties and growing deficit of more than Rs 2 billion.
A CM Secretariat official told PT there would be a multi-pronged probe as the Punjab CM was dissatisfied with the LDA’s report in response to a recent inquiry by the CM Inspection Team (CMIT) chairman on multiple charges on November 16. He said the CMIT had ordered the LDA to make a report on 19 allegations against the department to the CM’s Secretariat within seven days.
The 19 points that included details of road and building projects in 2009-10 and expenditure on a one-window cell for complaints, its date of functioning and date of calling tenders for work executed, etc. The inquiry had sought details of 10 marla commercial plots allotted to Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Rana Mashood Ahmad in the Gulshan-e-Ravi Scheme.
Other allegations were about expenditure on construction of public parking in the Johar Town office, expenditure on open parking with three sheds behind the LDA’s Johar Town office, information of expenditure incurred on renovating the DG office in the basement of the building, details of expenditure on procurement of an electronic attendance system for LDA employees.
The inquiry also asked for a host of other details. Another CM Secretariat official said that answers given by LDA in response to the CMs charge-sheet looked bogus. Instead of giving direct and well-argumentative replies, LDA used sugar-coated terms that boosted apprehensions that something was wrong which LDA officials were trying to hide, he added.
When approached, LDA officials confirmed that the department had submitted the reply against the charge-sheet issued against it. He said that the reply was concise and compact and did not require further deliberations.