LAHORE - Financial wrongdoing reigned supreme in former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf’s era. The Nation on Tuesday learnt that his personal lawyers paid out Rs 6 million through the PCB, Rs 5 million spent on surface travel to his sugar mill while spouse taken on every junket and airfare alone costing the board Rs 4 million.
Zaka paid out his personal/business lawyers out of PCB to the tune of millions, still more millions were spent on taking his wife along on foreign junkets and plush luxury vehicles were hired for hundreds of thousands of rupees per round trip to Bahawalpur and back to visit his sugar mill located there. The cumulative financial impact of all this ran into tens of millions of rupees – a tab that the PCB should have avoided at this time of financial distress when revenue streams have considerably shrunk owing to hosting its much diminished home series abroad at far greater cost.
Following the shocking disclosures made by the PCB Internal Audit Report with regard to financial mismanagement and irregularities, the latest instances of blatant financial wrongdoing that this scribe has been able to garner from well-placed sources reveals that the board was plundered for personal benefit, pleasure and comfort by former PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf in his 22-month tenure.
Amid a plethora of examples of financial misdemeanors, the following are extremely glaring in terms of using the board’s resources for personal benefit.
Imtiaz Siddiqui and M/s Kasuri & Associates, Zaka’s personal and his company lawyers, were paid out Rs 6 million out of the PCB coffers – out of this Rs 5,225,000 going to the former, when the PCB has its own legal department on top of having a legal advisor. Siddiqui and Kasuri are these days representing Zaka in the Supreme Court as his lawyers.
Zaka spent a staggering Rs 14.3 million in only his 22 months in office on his own domestic and foreign travel – a steep rise from Ijaz Butt’s three-year tenure. There are two major reasons for this huge spike in internal and external travel. One, hiring of expensive luxury vehicles for his personal, business trips to far flung Bahawalpur where his sugar mill is located. Two, taking his wife along on all 15 ICC meetings and other trips that he undertook during his stint as chairman PCB. The cost of hiring surface transport by Zaka alone is Rs 4.654 million, bulk of it constituting travel to and from Bahawalpur from various places. There are 10 round trips in all, at varying costs; one such round trip alone costing the PCB upwards of half a million rupees.
Another Rs 4 million was spent on air tickets for his spouse for 15 trips. And this does not include board and lodge and other sundry expenses, which were not a pittance either. This also does not include one trip by his son to Bangladesh costing Rs 175,000 in air fare alone.
The above instances, on top of the most damaging Internal Audit Report exposes, are enough to prove that financial wrongdoing and corruption reigned supreme in Zaka’s tenure as PCB chairman.