NAB files new inquiry against Saad Rafique

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Former railways minister and MNA Khawaja Saad Rafique is facing a new embezzlement probe at the hands of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) regarding the lease of Pakistan Railways’ land.

According to reports, NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal has authorised an inquiry against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Saad Rafique after the bureau reportedly found him involved in leasing out ‘precious commercial land’ of the state-owned railway company for alleged personal and financial gains.

“Commercial land of railways located at Lahore, Kasur and Faisalabad was illegally leased out for 33 years without due diligence. The land also includes precious state land specifically for filling station sites and commercial shops. The lease agreements signed are dubious and terms and conditions are vague,” a media report said while quoting a source.

It was added that the land was leased “in violation of rules through companies constituted by Railways such as REDAMCO [Railway Estate Development and Marketing Company Pvt Ltd] etc.”

There were certain instances where the land was leased first to a limited company but subsequently the same was illegally transferred in the names of Rafique’s alleged front men.

On December 11, the NAB Lahore arrested Saad Rafique and his brother former Punjab health minister Khawaja Salman Rafique in connection with the Paragon Housing Society scam. Both are in NAB’s custody on physical remand.

The bureau has also initiated assets beyond means probe against the Khawaja brothers. Besides, the bureau is also looking into some contracts of buying locomotives during the tenure of Saad Rafique as the railways minister.