PESHAAWAR - National Accountability Bureau Khyber Pakhtunkhwa arrested owners of a privately-run manpower agency including Ameer Ahmed Shah, Shahid Hussain, Humayun Khan and Naveed Akhtar (travelling agents) for looting general public through a fraudulent travel agency.

The arrested persons are allegedly involved in cheating more than 114 potential pilgrims (Hujjaj) worth Rs37.585 million. As per details, the accused were running a fake travel agency in the name of Al-Mustafa Manpower Agency in Charsadda.

They collected approximately Rs3,30,000 from each potential pilgrim for providing them private hajj facility. When the hujjaj reached their office at Charsadda for collection of their visas and passports, they found the accused disappeared from the scene, depriving dozens of people from their hard-earned money on one hand and pilgrimage on the other hand.

Taking cognisance of the scam, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) pursued the investigation and arrested the accused, who not only had committed a financial fraud, but had also made innocent people victims on pretext of religious ritual. The accused persons would be presented in the accountability court for obtaining their physical remand.

The victims of the scam were advised by the accountability watchdog to approach office of the Director General, NAB KP for registering their claims during office hours.

Meanwhile, Rustum Shah Mohmand, former chief secretary and DG NAB KP Brig (R) Farooq Naser Awan distributed cheques amounting to Rs8.843 million amongst 31 victims of Afridi Hajj and Umrah Services, Peshawar and a cheque amounting to Rs11.387 million to Allah Nawaz, Additional Director Peshawar Electricity Supply Company (PESCO) in a ceremony held at NAB KP office.

As per details, the accused were running a travel agency in the name and collected approximately Rs 340,000 to Rs 380,000 from each pilgrim in the garb of private hajj facility. The victims were made to go through the entire hajj application process.

They also arranged a training session for hujjaj, where ahraam as well as bags and books were distributed among them. They were given different dates for flights, however; when the hujjaj reached the airport they found that accused had deprived them off their hard-earned money. During the course of inquiry the accused accepted their guilt and returned the looted money.

Moreover, the accountability body said that its WAPDA Recovery Cell was actively pursuing electricity bill defaulters, especially industrial consumers and recoveries were made frequently. An amount of Rs11.387 million was recovered from industrial electricity bill defaulters and handed over to Allah Nawaz, Additional Director Pesco by the Director General NAB KP.

The DG assured general public that NAB would continue its efforts without fear or favour and ensure the recovery of looted money from the culprits and return to its rightful heirs.