LDA seeks BS-20 officers to probe LDA City case


–Request forwarded to HUD&PHE secy after grade 19 officer among those named in ‘Development of Infrastructure in LDA City Housing Scheme’ case

–LDA chief engineer says numerous irregularities unearthed, case referred to departments concerned

LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has requested the Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering (HUD&PHE) secretary to nominate senior officers of BPS-20 to conduct an inquiry in the LDA City Housing Scheme case, Pakistan Today has learnt.

According to sources, the development comes after irregularities in the infrastructural development of LDA City and involvement of senior officials was unearthed.

“In the letter that the LDA Urban Wing’s Directorate of Administration has written to HUD&PHE secretary, it has been stated that a fact-finding inquiry was conducted by LDA additional director general (HQ) in the irregularities that marred the approval of technical sanctions, award and enhancement of works on ‘Development of Infrastructure in LDA City Housing Scheme’,” sources said.

During the probe, they added, the involvement of certain officers was discovered, one of whom belongs to BPS-19.

“There is an acute shortage of senior officers in the LDA and the nature of the inquiry requires an impartial inquiry officer. And so it has been requested that a panel of three officers of BPS-20, preferably familiar with engineering of development projects, may be provided to conduct the said inquiry under relevant provision of Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act, 2006.”

On the other hand, the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Lahore region has taken up the issue and initiated an inquiry against LDA officials, namely Engineering Director Asrar Saeed, Deputy Director Zafar Iqbal, Assistant Director Zohaib Malik and Engineering Assistant Director Farrukh Shahzad.

“The department [ACE] has written to the LDA administration director and stated that ACE Lahore region had constituted a joint investigation team which comprised deputy director (investigation), assistant director (technical) and Lahore HQ Circle Officer,” sources said.

They added that the letter further stated ACE had also directed LDA to nominate an officer for correspondence who would be able to bring the entire record of the LDA City and share the details with the probe team.

It is pertinent to note that Asrar Saeed was a NAB approver against former LDA director general Ahad Cheema in the Aashiana Housing scam and was accused of corruption of billions. The Services & General Administration Department (S&GAD) had recently proposed a criminal and departmental inquiry against him as well.

The S&GAD on January 15 wrote to HUD&PHE secretary a letter titled “Posting of Asrar Saeed after release from NAB custody”. “The S&GAD Regulations Wing has looked into the matter and it was observed that as per references dated 14.12.2018 and 04.01.2019, addressed to the ACE director general and HUD&PHE secretary, respectively, by the LDA administration director, both criminal and departmental proceedings are proposed to be initiated,” the letter said.

“An employee against whom action is proposed to be initiated under section 5 may be placed under suspension for a period of ninety days, if in the opinion of the competent authority. The suspension is necessary or expedient, and if the period of suspension is not extended for a further period of ninety days within thirty days of the expiry of an initial period of suspension, the employee shall be deemed to be reinstated. Provided that the continuation of the period of suspension shall require the prior approval of the competent authority for each period of extension,” the letter further said while quoting section 6 of PEDA Act, 2006, regarding Asrar Saeed’s suspension.

LDA Chief Engineer Mehar Mazhar, while speaking on the matter, said that it was a serious case.

“In this grave issue, numerous irregularities are involved and we have referred the case to the departments concerned,” he said.