LAHORE: An accountability court allowed an application of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking approval for closing an inquiry into alleged corruption in LDA City housing scheme against former Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general Ahad Khan Cheema and nine others.
The NAB in its application submitted that its regional board meeting had approved closure of the inquiry as all the private partners of LDA City undertook to give plots to all the allottees.
It said that the private partners had also provided the land for the project, which they were required to acquire under public-private partnership. The LDA and the development partners were also accused of selling the plots more than they acquired.
A joint venture of five developers under public-private partnership was supposed to acquire land for the government. The venture comprises Alpha Developers, Pak-Estate, Urban Developers, Maymar Housing and Paragon Developers.
Presiding Judge Jawadul Hassan allowed the application and approved closing of the inquiry.
The NAB had alleged that the private development partners in the housing project were involved in illegal sale of the LDA City plots in connivance with the then LDA chief Cheema. It said the suspects caused a huge loss to the national exchequer.
However, Cheema had claimed that not a single penny from public money was spent on the project as the private partners were supposed to acquire the land and make payments to the land owners.
The Lahore High Court had granted bail to Cheema in this case on Jan 28.
The bureau had initially arrested Cheema in Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case on Feb 21, 2018, exhausted 90-day physical remand and caused his arrest in illegal assets and LDA City cases.
Cheema is still behind bars as he was denied bail in the last two references.
MONEY LAUNDERING: The NAB on Saturday submitted before an accountability court a list of 110 prosecution witnesses that it will present in the money laundering reference against the family of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif.
The witnesses include employees of various banks, Federal Board of Revenue and other government departments.
The reference mainly accused Mr Shahbaz of being a beneficiary of assets held in the name of his family members andbenamidars, who had no sources to acquire such assets. It said the suspects committed corruption and corrupt practices as envisaged under the provisions of National Accountability Ordinance 1999 and money laundering as delineated in Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010. In this case, Mr Shahbaz is on pre-arrest bail by the Lahore High Court. His son Hamza is on judicial remand and the other son Suleman has been declared an absconder, as he failed to return from London.
In the previous hearing, Shahbaz and his daughter Javeria Ali had appeared before the court.