Three years on: ACE fails to hook 24 ‘corrupt’ officers


–Corruption accused not being arrested, presented before court owing to their ‘close alliance’ with ACE staffers

–ACE director says year-wise priorities assigned to pending cases; reiterates commitment to bring all corrupt to justice

LAHORE: Despite the passage of three years, the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) has failed to bring to justice at least 24 officers/employees of different provincial government departments, who were nominated in cases of corruption, embezzlement and misuse of powers, Pakistan Today has learnt.

According to sources, ACE had registered cases against the accused, who belong to departments including education, health, Punjab Police, Board of Revenue (BOR) and the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), some three years ago; but so far has been unable to arrest them or present them before a court.

When asked as to why had the anti-graft department failed to proceed against the accused, sources said that some of ACE’s staff members had a “close alliance” with the corrupt employees of other departments and tried to protect them by using different tactics.

“ACE is looking into new cases and probing the affairs of different departments, but all these pending cases are a question mark on its performance,” sources added.

Sharing the details of a few pending cases, they informed this scribe that case number 1217/10 had been registered against Imran Khan, who was the PQR section commander at the Shadman police station in Lahore, but neither was he ever presented before a court, nor did ACE ever even try to arrest him.

“Similarly, case numbers 546/10 and 1003/10 lie in limbo as the accused, Naseer Ahmad Khan, a police inspector; and Muhammad Saddique of the Kot Lakhpat police station, respectively, were never arrested or presented before the court.”

Muhammad Zulafqar, who was the ASI of Mozang police station, is also wanted in case number 1487/10 against him, but no action was taken, they said and added that case number 1128/10 was registered against Zafar Iqbal, who was ASI in the Gujarpura police station, case number 822/10 against Amjad Qureshi, who was the head clerk of Qila Gujar Singh Police Lines, case number 78/11 against Muhammad Rafique, who was a police constable, but all the cases lie pending amid ACE’s reluctance to bring the accused to justice.

“Some officials of LDA are also named in cases like 17/06, registered against Hafeez, a building inspector; 131/08 against Tayyab Shaheen, who was a clerk at the authority and case number 670/10 against a patwari namely Muhammad Idrees.”

In BOR, an inquiry is still incomplete against patwari Basharat Ali, who is wanted in case no 0805 and case no 554/10 against an official of BOR, Muhammad Afzal, also lies in limbo, they said.

“Moreover, case no 423/10 against Liaqat Hussain Nazeer, who was the registry muharrar of Samanabad Town, case 06/10 against a patwari, Niamat Ali from Halqa Mian Ali Faqeeran, case 5009 against patwari Bashar Ahmed from Halqa Hassanabad, case no 639/10 against an employee of BOR, Talat Iftikhar Bhutta, and case no 11508 against a patwari, Rana Zia, have also been marred by ACE’s lack of determination to tackle corruption,” sources added.

They also spoke of a number of pending cases against persons affiliated with Government Polytechnic College Railway Road, Punjab Health Department, Judiciary Department among others.

ACE Director Asghar Joyia, while talking to Pakistan Today, said they have assigned year-wise priorities to pending cases and most of the cases have “already been gotten done with”.

“We are also seeking the details of pending cases from our inquiry officers on a daily basis and nobody who is corrupt will be spared,” he added.