Rs 3.5b fraud unearthed in housing project


Unearthing embezzlement amounting to around Rs 3.5 billion, the inquiry report into the irregularities in the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) Phase-VI at Bara Kahu has recommended the government to assign Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) the task to recover money from the culprits.
The inquiry conducted by Ministry of Housing and Works Joint Secretary MB Awan recommends that all the directors of the FGEHF posted during the period from 2005 to 2010 should immediately be repatriated to their parent departments which may be asked to initiate disciplinary action against them under the Government Servants (Efficiency & Discipline) Rules, 1973.
The aforesaid probe had been conducted on the orders of Federal Minister for Housing and Works Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat while the report was submitted to the Supreme Court on June 30 during the hearing of FGEHF’s land procurement scam. The inquiry report says that contrary to developing a housing society in F-12 for which a full sector measuring 750 acres was allocated in 2005 on the orders of the then prime minister by the CDA, the FGEHF management in connivance with the director urban planning CDA managed to launch housing scheme (Phase-VI) in Zone-II or IV of the Islamabad Capital Territory. The report says that FGEHF invited expression of interests (EOIs) without formulating the terms of reference (TORs) and evaluation criteria for selection of land owners as well as builders, which was mandatory under the Rule 23 of Public Procurement Rules, 2004.
It says: “The undersigned (inquiry officer) could not see if the short listed land owners/builders were possessing valid licenses from Pakistan Engineering Council as well as Pakistan Council for Architects and Town Planners to bid for development of a housing scheme costing more than 5 billion of rupees.” The report points out that out of the 3,000 kanals of raw land, 2,520 are situated in village Sakreela. As per report of the Revenue Department, the average sale price of land at village Sakreela, during the period March 1, 2008 to March 1, 2009, remained Rs 44, 457 per kanal, which is 21 times less than the price of land settled by the sub-committee of the FGEHF Executive Committee with M/S Green Tress (Private) Limited. “Therefore, an amount of Rs.2, 716 million (2.7 billion) is being embezzled on this account,” the report reveals.
It further says the Executive Committee in a meeting held on March 17, 2009 approved the rate of raw land of Rs.950, 000 per kanal and also accorded approval to the price of developed land at the rate of Rs.2, 300, 000 per kanal (Rs.4, 600/- per square yard). “The approved rates of developed land per kanal and per square yard are contradictory to each other,” the report adding that an amount of Rs.870 million was being embezzled on the account. The meeting also approved the assigning of development works to M/S Green Trees (Private) Limited as builder on very higher rates as no detail of items of the development works existed for evaluation of demand of the developer. The report notes misappropriation of Rs.687 million through the measure.
The inquiry also reveals that M/S Green Trees (Private) Limited Chief Executive Dr Muhammad Hafeez Abbasi is the real brother of one of the member of FGEHF Executive Committee, Muhammad Zafeer Abbasi, the then additional secretary Ministry of Interior, and the director of the firm is the father of the said member. It adds that the objections raised by Ali Akbar Sheikh, the then Pakistan Public Works Department DG, were not mentioned in the approved minutes of the said meeting.
The report mentions another lacuna, the execution of an agreement between FGEHF and M/S Green Tress (Private) Limited on April 1, 2009 without prior concurrence of the Ministry of Law and Justice. The report further reveals that despite passage of three years time and huge payments made to M/S Green Trees (Private) Limited, neither they could get NOC from the CDA for launching the housing scheme nor showed considerable progress of development works at the site.
In the findings, the joint secretary says the decision of shifting the project from the Sector F-12 to Bara Kahu is based on malafide intentions. “Site of the Housing Scheme (Phase-VI) located 6 kilometers ahead of Bara Kahu is not comprised of compact piece of land.” The inquiry officer says the directors of technical, law, admn and finance departments besides the then FGEHF DG are responsible for the above mentioned lapses and massive misappropriation of funds.


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