Real estate of billions

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ISLAMABAD: Absconding former chairman of the Employees Old-Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) Zafar Iqbal Gondal, who is sought by investigators for questioning about alleged massive shady deals involving billions, remained on an unprecedented shopping spree during his tenure as he spent Rs34b from the coffers of this organisation to purchase properties for it.

 

While Gondal “invested” Rs34,387,184,400 EOBI funds in real estate in less than three years of his stay in this position, the institution purchased commercial, residential, industrial, agricultural and amenity lands for Rs9,490,265,619 since its inception in 1982 till 2009, official documents available with The News show.

 

Efforts were made to reach Gondal to know his side of the story, but he was inaccessible and his cell phone was switched off.

 

Another scandal, akin to the scam involving NICL (National Insurance Corporation Company), looms large on the horizon where properties worth much less than the money paid by EOBI, were purchased by Gondal without following the due process, specifically the approval of the Board of Trustees.

 

The real estate bought by Gondal from 2010 to April 2013 from the EOBI funds was shown to have the market value of Rs35,520,710,009 while the worth of similar properties bought from 1982 to 2009 was stated to be Rs14,278,615,889.

 

The Supreme Court, which has taken a suo moto notice of the EOBI corruption scandal, has ordered the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Islamabad to deposit Rs22 bn within 48 hours with its Registrar’s office or face freezing of all its accounts, and directed six individuals to deposit Rs7,087m they received from the EOBI for the purchase of property.

 

Zafar Iqbal is the younger brother of former federal minister Nazar Mohammad Gondal.In just four months, from January to April this year, Zafar Iqbal spent Rs11.334 bn from the EOBI funds to purchase properties. His last transaction was carried out on March 15, the last day of the previous government.

 

According to the documents, on March 15, the EOBI purchased 23 commercial plots and 538 residential plots and villas of the DHA Rawalpindi Phase-1 for Rs6.825b.

 

On February 20, plots of various sizes were purchased in the Pak Arab Housing Scheme, Ferozpur Road, Lahore, for Rs1.15b. They included 515 plots of 5 Marlas, 64 plots of 10 Marlas and 75 commercial plots from 2.5 to 5 Marlas.

 

On February 7, the EOBI spent Rs900m on purchasing residential plots located in Eden Villas Housing Scheme Faisalabad. These included 2,162 Marlas (355 residential plot of various sizes) and 339.19 Marlas (65 commercial plots of various sizes).

 

On February 9, Gondal spent another Rs1.3b of EOBI funds on purchasing commercial plots located in River Edge Housing Scheme (At Park View Villas) 17-KM Multan Road Lahore. These included 904 Marlas, 226 commercial plots located in Phase-II of the project.

 

On January 18, 3,500 shares of the Faqir Plaza and Company along with shares and property owned by the company were purchased by the EOBI for Rs36m.

 

On January 30, Gondal invested Rs790m of EOBI by purchasing open plot No. 101 having old building at Mall Road Lahore measuring 9.02 Kanals. On the same day, the EOBI bought for Rs333m plot No. 54, which is the residential property located on Main Gulberg Road Lahore measuring 12 Kanals.

 

The EOBI bought properties worth Rs21.28b in the year 2012. On January 18, the EOBI purchased 321.3 Kanals from DHA, Islamabad in Phase-I and Phase-II Extensions, DHA Expressway and DHA Valley for Rs15,743,700,000. This is the transaction about which the apex court Wednesday directed the DHA to deposit Rs22b with its registrar.

 

On January 13, Gondal invested Rs120.9m of EOBI to purchase 2,428 sq. yds. of plots Nos. 4 and 8 located next to Mobilink business centre, TCS, Warid Telecom & opposite to KFC at Sukkur.

 

On January 4, the EOBI spent Rs2b to buy 19,360 sq. yds. comprising Survey # 536-537 in Naclass 153, Deh Mehran District Malir, Karachi East.

 

On May 18, 2012, Gondal purchased Crown Plaza located in F-7 Markaz Islamabad, measuring 600 sq. yds, and paid Rs1b.

 

On June 29, the EOBI invested Rs1b on buying 222 plots of different sizes in Eden Garden Housing Scheme, Eden Main Boulevard Housing Scheme and Edenabad Extension Housing Scheme Lahore.

 

On July 16, the institution spent Rs1.3b in buying 742 plots of various sizes in River Edge Housing Scheme, 2 KM from Thokar Niaz Baig, Motorway Interchange on Multan Road Lahore.

 

Two transactions were carried out on the same day, December 18, involving Rs90.245m. An amount of Rs30.2m was spent on purchasing one Kanal and 19 Marlas land on Talagang Road, opposite Caltex Pump, Chakwal. The EOBI also invested Rs60.45m and purchased 8 Kanals in Mouza Kalar Kahar Tehsil Kalar Kahar, Chakwal.

 

Documents show that properties worth Rs1.771b were purchased by the EOBI from July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011, which was the initial period of Gondal’s posting as its chairman.

 

On September 16, 2011, the EOBI invested Rs250m and purchased three Kanals and 16 Marlas in Hadbast Mouza, Lahore; spent Rs80m on October 28 to purchase 2 Kanals, 8 Marlas, Main Lower Hall, Lahore; and bought 40.825 Kanals in Mouza Sehjpal, DHA, Interchange on Ring Road, Lahore for Rs1.437b.



Courtesy:  The News


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