NAB seizes documents, gadgets in raid on Fawad’s house

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LAHORE: A National Accountability Bureau team on Saturday raided the residence in GOR-I of the arrested former principal secretary to the prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad and collected crucial documents.

The bureau had arrested Mr Fawad in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam on July 5 and obtained his 14-day physical remand from an accountability court on Friday to complete interrogation.

According to sources, the NAB had carried out raid at the residence of the senior bureaucrat in the light of the evidence gathered during the initial investigation.

The NAB team had collected important documents, two laptops, five mobile phones including one Blackberry and 30 USBs from the house of Fawad. The team also managed to get password of the bureaucrat’s Blackberry [phone]. The bureau would conduct forensic audit of the mobile phones and laptops.

The bureau had arrested Fawad [being implementation secretary to former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif] for misusing his power and violating procurement rules to award a contract of the housing scheme to a company of his choice.

Initially a Rs1.5 billion contract was awarded to successful bidder, M/s Chaudhry Latif and Sons and the suspect had cancelled it and awarded it to M/s Lahore Casa Developers on an inflated price of Rs4bn. The government had to pay Rs6 million as fine to the successful bidder.

Mr Fawad was also being investigated in another case for buying six mobile healthcare units at the exorbitant rate of Rs55m per unit while serving as Punjab health secretary. He had illegally served in Bank Alfalah from September 2005 to July 2006 though the establishment secretary had rejected his request for taking up a job at the bank.

Mr Fawad had prepared counterfeit no objection certificates for shifting of nine CNG pumps from one district to other while working for the Sprint Energy, a sister organisation of the JS Group. The irregularities committed by the accused had caused a loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer.

However, Mr Fawad had denied all the charges against him before the court and said he had no authority to cancel the contract. He said being the implementation secretary his job was to get the orders of the chief minister implemented only.

He said he served in Punjab till March 30, 2013 and never intervened in affairs of the province after assuming charge as principal secretary to prime minister. He said Shahbaz Sharif had ordered an inquiry into the contract after discrepancies were found in it.

The NAB had also arrested former chairman of Lahore Development Authority Ahad Khan Cheema on Feb 21 on charges of misusing his authority and awarding Rs14b worth of contracts of the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme. Procurement rules had been violated by Cheema.

Mr Cheema is in judicial custody after completing 90-day physical remand.

The NAB alleged that Bismillah Engineering of Shahid Shafiq was a proxy firm working on behalf of Paragon City Developers (Pvt) Ltd. It further said Cheema received illegal gratification in the form of 32 kanal from the owners of Paragon developers.

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