Islamabad - The National Accountability Bureau’s directions for departmental action against four Capital Development Authority (CDA) officers seem to have fallen on deaf years as the Authority has closed the inquiry into Rs33 million scam without taking the accused to task, The Nation has learnt reliably.

The chairman CDA, one year before, had ordered an inquiry against four CDA officers on charges of misconduct/inefficiency and negligence, as they had concealed official information to allegedly facilitate a contractor in en-cashing bank guarantee despite the latter had failed to complete construction work in stipulated time. NAB had later recovered the money and referred the case to CDA for departmental action against the responsible but, according to the sources, in sheer violation of the rules, the Authority has reportedly closed the inquiry.

The officers, including Habib-ur-Rehman, DDG coordination (the then director law) CDA; Najma Azhar, DDG Law (the then DD Law); Abdul Baqi, Director Law (the then DD Law); and Arif Masood, Deputy Director Law (the then AD law) had been charged for misconduct/inefficiency/negligence under Article 8.03 of CDA Employees (Services) Regulation, 1992 which may involve imposition of the penalty of dismissal from service as Law Directorate of CDA had allegedly failed to handle the case in proper procedure and showed extreme carelessness/negligence/misconduct thus causing a huge loss to CDA. Interestingly, Habib-ur-Rehman has recently retired from service and Abdul Baqi is on Leave Prior to Retirement.

The sources said that Chairman CDA had appointed Shahid Mehmood, Director General (Water Management) CDA, as chairman of the inquiry committee who submitted report but no action was taken against the accused. Amer Ali Ahmad, Member Administration CDA, had issued charge-sheet along with statement of allegations to all the accused officers of CDA under Article 8.03 of CDA Employees (Service) Regulations, 1992. The statement of allegations issued to all the accused officers read: “The work for contraction of I.J. Principal Road from Pirwadhai Intersection to Faizabad Interchange was awarded to M/S Sardar Muhammad Ashraf D. Baloch (Pvt) Limited at an agreement amount of Rs350.520 million with two years completion period with effect from May 1, 2003 (to April 30, 2005). On the request of the contractor, the completion period was extended up to August 31, 2005 with the condition that if at any stage during the extended period, the Authority feels that the progress of the work is not proportionate to the time elapsed, it may rescind the work under Clause-III-C of the Contract Agreement. A mobilisation Advance of Rs32.923 million was paid to the contractor against bank guarantee, which was valid up to April 3, 2005 and was further extended up to October 30, 2005.” It further said the contractor lodged suit in the court of senior civil judge to restrain CDA from encashment of bank guarantee against mobilisation advance; and a stay order against encashment of bank guarantee and performance bond was issued on September 7, 2005 which was valid up to the next date of hearing i.e. September 10, 2005.

That order was never extended beyond September 10, 2005 on any subsequent date of hearing. On the other side, no effort at all was made by the Roads Directorate CDA to make it clear to the contractor or to the insurance company or to the concerned bank as well as to the CDA that no such stay order was in force beyond September 10, 2005.

 The allegations said the concerned directorates (Law and Roads directorates) did not convey to the Authority that original stay order operated for only three days and that legally the CDA was then in a position to en-cash the bank guarantee under the agreement as the contractor had failed to complete the work.

The court had dismissed the contractor’s petition on March 17, 2010 due to non-pursuance by the petitioner. The firm however en-cashed the bank guarantee, which was supposed to be en-cashed by the CDA.

Later the NAB recovered the amount from the contractor and handed over to CDA. NAB had referred the case to CDA for departmental action as per rules but CDA has reportedly closed the inquiry without taking any action against the accused, the sources added.