DHA asked to deposit Rs22bn by tomorrow

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ISLAMABAD : The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave two days to Defence Housing Authority (DHA) to deposit the Rs22 billion it had received to develop 321 kanals for the Employees Old Age Benefit Institute (EOBI).


According to media reports, the EOBI had invested in the private sector projects without the approval of the Board of Trustees (BoT).


A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had taken suo motu notice of the multi-billion corruption scandal. The court asked the DHA to deposit the amount with the office of SC registrar by July 19.


According to the report, the market value of the lands was one billion rupees but Rs16 billion was paid to the DHA thus causing a loss of Rs15 billion to the EOBI.


Similarly, the EOBI paid Rs5.6 billion to the DHA for purchase of lands in another scheme.


At the last hearing on July 1, Director Town Planning, DHA, Mohammad Tariq Kamal had conceded before the court that the DHA had handed over 400 kanals of properties to Messers Bahria Town under a June 2, 2012 agreement. Of this, 321 were sold to the EOBI by the Bahria Town.


The agreement required building an expressway free of cost by the Bahria Town to connect Islamabad with the DHA valley.


According to the terms of the agreement, the Bahria Town was responsible for paying for the development and marketing of these plots.


On Wednesday the Supreme Court directed Advocate Ahmer Bilal Soofi, the counsel for DHA, to deposit the money or furnish the details of its assets, which could be attached if the amount was not paid.


In return Advocate Soofi tried to reassure the court that the investment made by the EOBI in the DHA was secure since a new city was going to be established.


He also requested the court to give the authority some time because it did not have the required liquidity to arrange such a huge amount at such a short notice.


In its order the apex court noted that the deal was entered between the EOBI and the DHA in a highly non-transparent manner where not even PPRA rules (Public Procurement Regulatory Authority) were followed.


“On a higher rate the land of lower cost was purchased and Rs22.24 billion was paid to the DHA by the EOBI,” the chief justice regretted while dictating the order.


The bench also noted that no development had taken place at the site.


The DHA Islamabad had handed over the allotment letters to the EOBI but did not transfer the title of the land. Such transfers of titles are also not in accordance with the transfer of Property Act and Stamps Act, the court observed.


Additional Director General Law FIA Mohammad Azam Khan told the court that a visit to the site by the FIA investigators along with the district revenue officer of Islamabad on July 16 discovered that there was no development on the land purchased in 2011 at a high price.

Courtesy:   Dawn

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