DHA appears to be in trouble

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ISLAMABAD : Its bank accounts frozen by the Supreme Court for defying a court order, the mighty Defence Housing Authority Islamabad-Rawalpindi looks in big trouble.

 

A three-member bench of the court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, came heavily on the DHA commercial empire when it failed to deposit Rs22.29 billion with the registrar of the court by Friday, the staggering amount being tainted with a scandal involving the Employees Old Age Benefit Institute (EOBI), the DHA and the real estate developer Bahria Town.

 

Besides freezing DHA’s bank accounts, the bench stopped the DHA from opening a new account in any bank and asked it to submit details of its current bank accounts to the court during the course of the day, and its bank to report daily to the court registrar the amount it received from the DHA.

 

However, the bench allowed the DHA to move an application to the Supreme Court for an appropriate order if it agrees to deposit the asked Rs22.29 billion with the registrar.

 

These directions followed the suo motu hearing by the bench of a corruption scandal in which the government-backed EOBI invested billions of rupees in suspect deals with the DHA, without the approval of its Board of Trustees.

 

Preliminary findings of a probe into the alleged scam by the Federal Investigation Agency suggest that the EOBI first purchased 321 kanals of land in the DHA Islamabad on January 19, 2012 for Rs15.473 billion and then, on March 15, 2013, signed a second deal with the DHA to buy 23 commercial and 12 residential plots, 162 three-bedroom and 29 five-bedroom villas in Sector F, Phase-I DHA Rawalpindi.

 

Secretary EOBI Munir Qureshi informed the court during the proceedings that the institute had requested the FIA to put the names of the members of its Board of Trustees, who authorised the deals, on the Exit Control List.

 

In the strictures it passed on Friday, the Supreme Court bench asked the FIA to continue its probe “strictly in accordance with the law” and asked the bank dealing with DHA accounts to report to the court registrar daily the amounts it received from the DHA.

 

Reacting to the Supreme Court orders, DHA officials explained that the sale agreements were concluded after negotiations, and with mutual consent, between the DHA and the EOBI. The entire land in question lay along the DHA Expressway and had been transferred/mutated in the name of the DHA and allotment letters of sold property also been issued to EOBI as per procedure/DHA rules. The allotment letters can be leased or mortgaged.

 

The DHA officials said the amount received from the EOBI was spent on purchase and development of the land, a fact which they claimed the FIA teams acknowledged when they visited the site on July 15.



Courtesy:  Dawn


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