Pakistan anti-graft body probes top army officers

Pakistan anti-graft body probes top army officers

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau, has announced it will reopen a Rs 2 billion corruption case against four retired senior army officers, including a former ISI chief.

The officers are accused of transferring tens of hundreds of acres of prime railway land in Lahore at very low rates to a Malaysian firm during Gen Pervez Musharraf’s regime in 2001. The land was then used for the development of the Royal Palms Gold and Country Club golf course.

The move comes a week after the Islamabad high court ruled that retired military officers could not hide behind the army’s accountability process.

Among those involved are retired Lt Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi, who served as the director general of the ISI and retired Lt Gen Saeed Uz Zafar, a former Peshawar corps commander. A NAB spokesman said: “The meeting authorised filing of a (case)… for misuse of authority and causing over Rs2 billion losses to national exchequer.”

On September 14, 2012, the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly had called for the cancellation of the controversial agreement. It recommended fresh bidding for the land and called for strict disciplinary action against the former officers who had endorsed the agreement.

The officers were summoned by the NAB to record their statements but the case was then put into cold storage due to the bureau’s reluctance to act against the military.

On the special committee’s recommendations, the Federal Investigation Agency started a separate investigation, and its report said 141 acres had been allotted at a nominal price, causing a loss of Rs 4.82 billion to the national exchequer.__Hindustan Times

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