ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Housing and Works has sent an inquiry report on the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) Housing Scheme (Phase-VI) scam, involving misappropriation of millions of rupees, to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for legal action against those responsible for causing huge monetary losses to the national exchequer.
Unearthing embezzlement amounting to millions of rupees, the inquiry report, conducted by Senior Joint Secretary MB Awan, on the orders of Federal Housing Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat, into irregularities in the Housing Scheme (Phase-VI) of Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) in Bara Kahu, has recommended the government to assign Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to recover the embezzled money from the culprits.
It is pertinent to mention that the scam surfaced during former housing minister Rehmatullah Kakar’s tenure and the Supreme Court also took suo motu notice of the case. The inquiry report, a copy of which is exclusively available with Pakistan Today, recommends that all directors of the FGEHF posted there during the period from 2005 to 2010 should immediately be repatriated to their parent departments and their parent departments should be asked to initiate disciplinary action against them under the Government Servants (Efficiency & Discipline) Rules, 1973.
In his recommendations, the senior joint secretary says that Federal Investigation Agency should be assigned to investigate the above irregularities and recover the embezzled money from the defaulters and proceed against them under the Criminal Procedure Code. “The FGEHF may consider launch of another housing scheme in Sector F-12 for allotment of plots to federal government employees on ownership basis as already approved by the prime minister,” the inquiry officer has further recommended.
The aforesaid probe was conducted on the orders of Federal Minister for Housing and Works Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat and its report has also been submitted to the Supreme Court which is hearing suo motu case on the said scam. The inquiry report says that instead of developing a housing society in F-12 for which a full sector measuring 750 acres was allocated to the FGEHF in 2005 by the CDA on the orders of the then prime minister, the FGEHF management, in connivance with the director (urban planning), managed to launch Housing Scheme (Phase-VI) in Zone-II or IV of the Islamabad Capital Territory.
The report says that the FGEHF invited expression of interests (EOIs) without formulating terms of reference (TORs) and evaluation criteria for selection of land owners as well as builders, which was mandatory under rule 23 of the Public Procurement Rules, 2004. “Therefore, proposals received by the FGEHF cannot be treated competitive, which was the root cause of the financial irregularities,” the report adds.
It further says that the executive committee of the FGEHF in its 105th meeting held on March 17, 2009, approved the rate of raw land of Rs 950,000 per kanal as negotiated by the sub-committee of the executive committee and also accorded approval to the price of developed land at the rate of Rs 2.3 million per kanal, (Rs 4,600 per square yard). “The approved rates of developed land per kanal and per square yard are contradictory to each other. If we apply the rate of Rs 4,600 per square yard, the cost of one kanal (605 square yards) comes to Rs 2.783 million.
The FGEHF director (finance) explained that developed land of 1,800 kanals (60 per cent of total raw land) would be purchased in the unit of per square yard instead of in the unit of per kanal, which showed mala fide on his part and his clear involvement in these ambiguous rates despite a query in this regard of the Ministry of Housing & Works secretary before signing the agreement with M/S Green Trees (Private) Limited, therefore, a huge amount of money was embezzled,” it claims.
The inquiry report further adds that the executive committee of the FGEHF, at its 105th meeting on March 17, 2009, accorded approval to the assigning of development of the housing scheme to M/S Green Trees (Private) Limited as builders at very higher rates.
The inquiry report reveals that Dr Muhammad Hafeez Abbasi, chief executive of M/S Green Trees (Private) Limited, is real brother of one of the members of the FGEHF executive committee, Muhammad Zafeer Abbasi, the then additional secretary, Ministry of Interior, while another director of the firm is the real father of the said member.
It adds that the senior joint secretary heard Ali Akbar Sheikh, the then director general, Pakistan Public Works Department (Pak-PWD), being a member of the executive committee of the FGEHF, who said that he had raised objections to the high prices and location of the housing in question at the 105th meeting of the executive committee. However, the company secretary, in connivance with the chief executive, did not mention his objections in the approved minutes of the meeting.
The report says that an agreement between FGEHF and M/S Green Tress (Private) Limited was executed on April 1, 2009 without prior concurrence of the Ministry of Law & Justice, which is full of ambiguities and lacunas in favour of M/S Green Trees (Private) Limited.
The report further reveals that despite the lapse of three years and huge payments made to M/S Green Trees (Private) Limited, they could neither get NOC from the CDA for launching the Housing Scheme (Phase-VI) nor did they show considerable progress of development work at the site. It was due to the influence of the then secretary, Ministry of Housing and Works, in his capacity as the FGEHF chief executive.
In his findings, the senior joint secretary says that decision of shifting Housing Scheme (Phase-VI) from Sector F-12 to Bara Kahu is based on mala fide intention. “Site of the housing scheme located 6 kilometers ahead of Bara Kahu does not contain a compact piece of land and is not situated in close vicinity of the Islamabad city,” it further says. The inquiry officer holds the CGEHF director (technical), director (law), director (admn), director (finance) and the then director general responsible for the said lapses and the massive misappropriation of funds.