Arm-twisting of MCI by influential leads to Rs 15m losses yearly


In a classic case of arm-twisting, manipulation, nepotism and fraud by the influential politicians connected to the ruling family, the administration of Centaurus Mall has installed a new advertisement on its tower ‘C’ without seeking a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) and in blatant violation of the stay orders issued by the District Courts.

Mall administration allegedly inconvenience with the civic management of capital had illegally installed a wrap (sticker) on the glass of tower ‘C’ – South East Asia’s biggest advertisement without benefiting national exchequer and prior approval (NOC) from the competent authority.

DMA of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) has also shut its eyes over this irregularity just to accommodate the bigwigs. DMA will lose 15 million rupees yearly in this regard (@250/sf). The mall administration installed new sticker before getting NOC in a well-conceived move to pressurise the authority to allow them for this commercial activity to generate revenue or otherwise they have had already installed advertisement.

A sticker of DEW drink ad measuring 56,000 square foot was installed on the glass wall of the aforementioned wall a few days ago without putting a single penny in the national kitty.

The previous advertisement company (Nash) claimed that they have had an agreement with the administration of said mall and had paid them advance rent money, which is valid until August this year and had also paid an amount of 15 million rupees to the DMA valid till December this year, gained No-Objection Certificate (NOC) in 2015 then renew it yearly.

According to the documents, available with Pakistan Today, DMA offered Nash advertisement for sticker pasting on face glass of Centaurus Mall, sector F-8 Islamabad on February 9, 2017.

“It is to inform you that your request for display of sticker pasting on face glass of Centaurus mall at F-8 sector has been examined/ approved by the competent authority of utilizing 30,000sf for the period of one year (17/01/1017 to 16/01/2018) on standard terms and conditions,” and asked the company to submit the pay order @Rs250 per square foot per annum amounted to seventy-five lac rupees, partially payable to the authority within seven days.

Documents show that the Nash advertisement had paid the partial amount of rupees 18,75000 through Cheque no. 27909694 on 15th of February this year.

However, sources said that some politicians were involved in this episode. Sources alleged that a close relative of the ruling family was instrumental in arm  twisting of the Mayor Islamabad in this regard while another ruling party Member of National Assembly, a sitting senator of the coalition government who also chairs the standing committee on CDA matters has played a key role in it.

“One MNA including some other politician and bureaucrats assured the administration of Centaurus mall that they would bring them permission of running Hotel in tower ‘C’ from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and asked them to hand over the possession of the glass-wall,” sources said.

Subsequently, the DMA on April 13 had issued another letter of cancellation of the license they had given to Nash advertisement claiming they had submitted a cheque instead of pay order of the partial amount- which makes no sense.

While talking, Director DMA, Ali Sufiyan said that first the matter was sub-judice with session court and they announced a verdict in the favour of Centaurus Mall and later on, the said advertisement company went to district court and managed stay order.

“Yes, the mall installed sticker illegally and they do not have any NOC. They just applied for the NOC and post sticker of DEW on it. Authority is looking into the matter and would send them notice soon,” he said.

Though, when contacted, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nash advertisement, Naseem Khan said that he will go against DMA and Centaurus in contempt of court on Thursday (Today).

All of a sudden, I just received an email from Kashif Butt, Manager Centaurus mall which carried a 7-day notice. “As you know that tower ‘c’ is nominated for hotel and its fit out work going on inside the tower and the project requirement to hand over the site so that cladding work could be finalized as per international standards, therefore we have to revoke the li Centaurusse agreement agreement made on September 1st 2016 for Zong branding against Rs.2.5million per month,” it contains.

Director Nash, Ayaz Siddiqui said, “All was going well. We are victims and sustained loss of millions of rupees. We will follow it till its conclusion,” adding that the new advertisement company is not registered with Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), not even taxpayers. Asia’s biggest advertisement lacks legal cover and no one is paying heed to it, he concluded.

When contacted, Manager Activation and Coordination of Centaurus, Kashif Butt said that he is not in the position of telling something and Centaurus didn’t violate any law. He said to this scribe to visit his office, wrap posting is legal and the administration followed very rules and regulations.

Contact could not be made with the Mayor cum Chairman CDA, Sheikh Anser Aziz as he is out of the country.

CDA Spokesperson Mazhar Hussain said that everything which found illegal would be dealt according to law, without any fear and favour.