LAHORE - Punjab Anti Corruption Establishment (ACE) has finalised investigations of a high profile case of a private advertising agency allegedly involved in misappropriation of more than Rs600 millions, well-placed sources in ACE confided to The Nation.

An officer of ACE claimed on Wednesday that newly appointed ACE Director General Brig (r) Muzafar Ranjha has started working on mega corruption cases. He has constituted a committee in this regard also.

“We are working on about 20 mega corruption cases so I am hopeful that within coming few days we will finalise the Midas Pvt Ltd multi-million corruption case,” the officer said. The case would be the beginning of a new campaign of ACE against mega corruption cases, he added.

After the finalisation of work on the above said case, the arrest of Inam Akbar, owner of the agency, is expected, another senior ACE officer said while seeking anonymity.

The case in question is an old one, but the agency did not make any progress in it due to involvement of influential people. Association of media houses’ owners and NAB influenced the case and hindered the progress.

An association of newspapers expressed its concerns over the registration of FIR against Midas, which has been a key source of newspaper ads over the years. Through a press release, it termed the action against the said agency ‘unilateral’.

The Punjab government then constituted a committee under Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid comprising the IC&YA Secretary, Finance Secretary, Additional IGP and some senior journalists. The committee August 5, 2009 unanimously decided that in view of the lengthy process involved in the selection of audit firms, the accounts of DGPR Punjab should be audited by the Auditor General Pakistan.

Then spokesman for the Punjab government pointed out that ACE has lodged the FIR, after holding proper enquiry on the matter of bogus payments of Punjab Development Fund Advertisements.

A rift between the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and ACE also surfaced to decide the fate of the case. Sources revealed that NAB had initiated an inquiry against ACE officers who allegedly accused and threatened the investigation officers probing the misappropriation case.

The tussle surfaced after the bureau directed ACE to handover all the records pertaining to Midas investigation, but the request was turned down by the then ACE DG.