On Thursday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) acquitted the accused in a corruption case made by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for building illegal storeys at the Safa Gold Mall in F-7.
When an accountability court found them guilty last September, they were sentenced to two years in prison. However, a division bench led by Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani ordered the acquittal of the mall owner and four people from the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
Read more with EL news : Owner of Safa Gold Mall and 4 CDA officials have sentenced to prison
Judge: The mall owner, Rana Abdul Qayum, was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined Rs1 billion. Ghulam Murtaza Malik, the former deputy director general of CDA, was sentenced to five years in prison and deputy director Ammar Idrees was given three years in prison for his role in the fraud.
The court said that three more floors of the mall were illegal, and it told the CDA to get back its rent from the owner as well.
Five people were sentenced to prison last year for building illegal storeys.
Afterward, NAB took action. The CDA board voted to cancel the plot that had been given to Safa Gold Mall because of the illegal storeys and other mistakes in the building plan.
CDA sold plot No. 5 at Jinnah Super Market in 2010, where its health department used to be, for money back in 2010. Even though the civic agency turned the health facility into a commercial lot, it was still a bad idea.
Allotment letter: Prosecution says the floor-area ratio of the building would be 1:5 with 100% coverage, and the number of floors would be ground-plus-four, which capped the height of the building.
NAB says that Mr. Qayyum worked with CDA officials to get illegal favours and extra benefits, which cost the government about Rs1.07 billion.
An office for the CDA Directorate of Health Services was set up on the plot, even though it wasn’t marked for any specific use in the CDA’s long-term planning. The court record says this.
When the CDA board met on May 12, 2009, the deputy director general planning-II came up with a plan to use a plot of land that had a lot of commercial value and should be sold to raise money for the CDA. The health services directorate could be moved to the G-7/4 or F-7/4 area.
The board agreed to the plan, as well as the rules for the commercial plot. Advertisements were then put in the press asking people to be pre-qualified to bid on the plot. Eight people were pre-qualified to bid on the land.
It was Mr. Qayyum’s claim that he was the highest bidder and that he had been given the plot. After the CDA gave him the go-ahead, he built the building on the plot.
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