NAB asked to explore capital’s ‘largest ever default’
ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has asked the accountability watchdog to look into the mega corruption cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as a real estate company’s refusal to pay Rs17 billion in instalments to the Capital Development Agency (CDA) for a leased plot that the civic agency sold at auction in 2005.
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The head of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Aftab Sultan, was asked by PAC Chairman Noor Alam Khan to look into M/s BNP (Private) Limited’s failure to pay Rs17 billion. M/s BNP (Private) Limited recently said it couldn’t pay the remaining lease payments for building the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Later, instead of a hotel, the building company built high-rise apartments.
After the CDA turned down the company’s offer to waive the instalments in exchange for a developed plot, the construction company asked the residents of “One Constitution Avenue” to pay the outstanding amount owed to the civic agency. However, the residents got a stay order from the Islamabad High Court.
A group in parliament wants to look into “mega scams” in KP.
The head of the PAC said he had heard that the construction company wouldn’t pay the CDA billions of rupees because it didn’t have enough money. The company was supposed to pay Rs2.9 billion to CDA in 2022, but it didn’t pay the money and instead gave CDA a plot.
Since 2005, when the plot was put up for auction, M/s BNP’s project “One Constitution Avenue” has been in the middle of a lot of trouble. The CDA sold the 13.5 acres at auction for Rs4.8 billion, but it only got Rs800 million in the same year, so it gave the plot to the company. Only Rs1.02 billion of the rest of the money was paid to the civic agency by 2016-17.
In 2017, the CDA stopped the plot’s lease. But after almost five years, a three-person Supreme Court bench led by then-chief justice Saqib Nisar ruled that the project could move forward.
Based on the 2019 ruling, the developer was supposed to pay Rs17.5 billion in instalments over a period of eight years. The company put down Rs1.7 billion as the first payment, but later broke its promise.
Last year, when the developer came up with the idea, asking CDA to take back a piece of commercial land from the company in exchange for the money it owed to the capital agency, then-member estate Naveed Ilahi sent the request to the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) to get his opinion.
After getting advice from the AGP office, the member estate asked the developer in a letter dated August 16, 2022, to go to the highest court “to dispose of the subject case according to the proposals submitted to this office for settlement of pending litigation.”
“Look into KP cases.”
During the meeting, the committee also asked the NAB to look into claims that billions of rupees were stolen from the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), the Billion Trees Tsunami, the Peshawar Text Book Board, and the Bank of Khyber. The committee also asked the director general of NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the investigation wings of different regions to give an update on the progress made on mega corruption scams.