By Sarmad Ali
(Pak Destiny) As the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has booked former Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman Kamran Lashari, a powerful bureaucrat of his time, and 10 other influential officials and contractors including that of Paragon City which had the shares of Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique in Rs25 billion corruption scam of Islamabad’s Grand Hyatt Hotel, efforts have begun to rescue them.
“The FIA has registered an FIR against former CDA chief and Lahore Walled City project chief Kamran Lashari and CEO of M/s BNP Pvt Ltd Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and nine other CDA officials and contractors for committing fraud in Grand Hyatt Hotel,” FIA Lahore Deputy Director Jamil Ahmed Khan Mayo told Dawn.
Since Paragon City that has shares of Railways Minister Saad Rafique sources believe that it would be very difficult for the FIA to carry out probe with any government influence. “Saad Rafique and Kamran Lashari are close friends and the former will come to the latter’s rescue… besides the Paragon City will also be looking for his (Saad) favour,” the sources said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his visit to new Islamabad Airport on Saturday admitted that “there has been corruption every where in the country.” Will PM Sharif consider the Grand Hyatt Hotel’s Rs25bn corruption and bar his cabinet members from using their influence in this case?
Unfolding of the Scam
Unfolding the Rs25bn scam the FIA said: “Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Directors of M/s BNP Pvt Ltd with the active connivance of Kamran Lashari, former member planning retired Brig Nusrat, former member finance Kamran Qureshi, former member admin Shaukat Mohammad, former member engineering Moin Kakakher, former additional legal advisor Rai Nawaz Kharal, former director estate management-II Habib-ur-Rehman Gillani, former director PMO Dr Faisal Awan and others responsible officers/officials of CDA have obtained wrongful gain to the tune of Rs25bn by causing huge financial loss to the exchequer by way of committing fraud, forgery, criminal breach of trust, impersonation and misuse of official position etc.”
They have been booked under section 409, 419, 420, 468, 471, 201, 109 PPC R/w 5(2) 47 Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA). “The role of other members of consortium BNP group along with other CDA officers will be determined during investigation,” Mr Mayo said.
The FIA said during the probe it transpired that in 2005 the CDA land measuring 13.5 acre located at Constitution Avenue One, Islamabad was leased out for construction of a five-star luxury hotel to M/s BNP Group (consortium of four companies – Bismillah Textile Pvt Ltd, Belhassa International Co, LCC, Naggra Mills Pvt Ltd and Paragon City Pvt Ltd – ) with consideration of total Rs4882.350 million for the period of 99 years.
“Some 15pc amount of the total agreed amount was to be deposited by the consortium while remaining amount was to be paid in 15 years in yearly installments inclusive of accepted KIBOR rate. Balance payable amount was also required to be secured through irrevocable bank guarantee as well as performance guarantee for completion of project.
“Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, CEO of Bismillah Textile Pvt Ltd, one of the members of consortium, managed to rename his family owned company M/s Elite Home Fashion Design Pvt Ltd as M/s BNP Pvt Ltd after wining bid. Then with the active connivance of CDA officers they executed the lease deed instead of lease agreement on the basis of fake joint venture agreement with CDA as CEO of M/s BNP Pvt Ltd instead of M/s BNP Group, while BNP Pvt Ltd was neither pre-qualified nor ever participated in the said bidding process,” it said.
The FIA said the alleged lease deed was turned down by joint sub registrar, Islamabad to register as lease deed as the same did not fulfill its legal requirements – full payment and completion certificate, so it was not registered with rent controller/civil judge Islamabad, deceitfully and fraudulently.
“Abdul Hafeez Sheikh with the active connivance of CDA officers/officials concerned got changed post bid terms & condition, detrimental to CDA and contrary to the original scope of work. Later on, Sheikh succeeded to waive the bank guarantee with the connivance of Muhammad Nawaz Kharal, the then additional legal advisor of CDA and other responsible officers of CDA. He never submitted performance guarantee nor CDA officers requisitioned the same. Thereafter the accused never constructed hotel tower but constructed luxury apartments instead of serviced apartments which were integral part of hotel and not meant for sale. He sold out the luxury apartments to general public illegally in spite of giving clear-cut undertaking to CDA that the apartments are not being sold and thus extracted billions of rupees by way of cheating and fraud. It has also established that to cover up the fraud, important record has been removed from CDA files.”
The FIA further said the BNP Pvt Ltd had also got approved a loan facility of Rs7bn from the Bank of Punjab against the CDA’s mortgaged land. “The BNP Pvt Ltd received Rs2.18bn of the total approved loan,” he said, adding the FIA was also investigating as how did the company manage to get the loan approved on the mortgaged CDA land.
The FIA sources said that it would soon arrest all the culprits in the case after getting a go ahead from the court. – Pak Destiny