NAB arrests forestry minister on corruption charges


LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday arrested Punjab Minister for Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries Sibtain Khan over corruption charges.

In this regard, a statement was issued by the Lahore bureau of the anti-graft watchdog, stating that the minister had been taken into custody during an inquiry pertaining to corruption and illegal awarding of contracts.

NAB said that the in July 2007, when Khan was the Punjab minister for mines and minerals, he allegedly awarded an illegal multi-billion rupee contract to Earth Resource Pvt Ltd for 500 metric tonnes of iron ore in Rajwah and Chiniot. The anti-corruption watchdog said that the contract was awarded despite the company having no previous experience in mining and this was done with the help of other suspects.

NAB further said that the Punjab Mines Department had denied that any other company was considered during the bidding process. The mines department had only contributed 20 per cent to the said project, thus making the joint venture illegal, NAB added.

Suspects in the case blamed Khan for selling minerals worth billions of rupees for just Rs2.5 million. Suspects added that the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) was kept in the dark about the whole project.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) had referred the case to the anti-graft body after which it began proceedings of the case.

The minister will be presented before an accountability court to obtain his physical remand.