Ashiana Housing scam: Bismillah Engineering CEO presented in court, verdict reserved

Ashiana Housing scam: Bismillah Engineering CEO presented in court, verdict reserved
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LAHORE: A court hearing the Ashiana-e-Iqbal corruption scandal case reserved is verdict here on Monday. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bismillah Engineering, Shahid Shafiq, was presented before the court under strict security after his one-day physical remand ended today. 

The NAB had launched an investigation against the management, officers, and officials of the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC), management and owners of Lahore Casa Developers, officers and officials of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) after the government cancelled the award of the Ashiana-e-Iqbal housing scheme to the successful bidder M/S Chaudhry Latif and Sons.

The award was given to M/S Lahore Casa Developers (JV) – a proxy group of M/S Paragon City (Pvt) Limited (which is stated to be developed by Railways Minister Saad Rafique) – hence causing a loss of millions of rupees to the exchequer.Shafiq's company was part of the joint venture Lahore Casa Developers that NAB has said was ineligible to receive the contract.

'Cheema awarded contract to ineligible company'A NAB spokesperson on Sunday stated that, in 2015, former LDA director general Ahad Cheema had misused his authority with criminal intent to award a contract to Bismillah Engineering —a C-4 company part of the joint venture Lahore Casa Developers that was ineligible for the contract.

Bismillah Engineering was only eligible to receive contracts up to 150 million rupees, the NAB spokesperson had stated, adding that Cheema caused a loss of 455 million rupees to the national exchequer.The company owned ninety percent shares, while Sparco Construction Company and China First Metallurgical held ten percent shares each yet a joint venture of the three companies was awarded a contract in 2015.

The NAB spokesperson had further said that 61,000 citizens had filed requests for the Ashiana Housing Scheme and paid 60 million rupees in processing fees. The cost of the project had increased due to a delay.

Cheema had also obtained a 32-Kanal piece of land in Lahore Cantonment, registered in the name of his cousin and siblings Ahmed Cheema and Sadia Mansoor, the NAB spokesperson had stated. APP/AFP

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