LAHORE - FIA is all set to summon members of PIA board of directors in corruption case after former PIA CEO German national Bernd Hildenbrand flew back to home and did not return to face charges.

Bernd’s name was placed on exit control list (ECL) for his alleged involvement in lease of A-330 aircraft for much-trumpeted start of Premium Service. Similar excessive payments were made on lease of A-320 aircraft in use of PIA.

A top FIA officer, while talking to The Nation, said that when former CEO flew to Germany, the FIA planned to summon members of the airline’s board of directors since they were final authority to approve any deal. They believed that some members in PIA BoD had reservation over the shady deals and refused to sign.

FIA was looking into a deal wherein an airworthy PIA A-310 plane which flew to Germany, was sold to a German company for Euro 45,000, although same aircraft was hired by company in Malta for 10 days at a cost of Euro 210,000 and its book value was estimated to be $3.1 million.

PIA Board of Directors had given approval for leasing of A-330 from Sri Lankan Airlines at over $.8,000 per hour although similar aircraft have been procured on lease by other private Pakistani registered airlines for approximately $4000 per hour.

PM’s Adviser on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Abbasi had given go-ahead to FIA to investigate these massive corruption scams tarnishing PIA’s reputation. He also issued instructions to give exemplary punishment to those PIA employees involved in financial and administrative indiscipline.

Former CEO Bernd was placed on ECL over pending investigation by FIA about massive corruption and was barred from leaving the country. He was hired during tenure of Chairman Nasir Jaffer. In a surprise move the Ministry of Interior gave him special permission for 30 days on May 04, 2017 knowing well that as a German citizen once he leaves the country, other than through Red Warrants issued through Interpol, it would be difficult to ensure that he returns.

FIA investigator said, “We will send a questionnaire to Bernd earlier and then with the passage of time, Ministry of Interior will decide what action could be taken against the accused”.