The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. Still suffering from the backlash it faced for forceful evictions of slum dwellers, it’s statement in the Supreme Court – in which it claims that if slums are not removed Islamabad would become a Christian majority – has also brought it under intense criticism. However, the instances of political incorrectness and bad policymaking are more publicised than CDA’s legal troubles. The officials from the authority are facing FIA and NAB action on account of multiple inquiries on different issues. The events of November 30th take the show; CDA Deputy Director, Chaudhary Iftikhar Ali Haideri was caught red handed accepting bribes worth Rs 4 million from the owner of a shopping mall – bribes that he demanded.

The case is open and shut, he was arrested during the act, and prosecution, barring political intervention, should be relatively straightforward.

However not all government officials are unintelligent enough to accept bribes in their own person. Graft and embezzlement, especially related to land, is a complex matter which is handled more subtly - it is rare to find a smoking gun or an easy trail of evidence. Past record shows that the FIA and NAB have struggled to effectively prosecute scams on that scale. The LEAs must be commended for their action but it must also be kept in mind that they would have been unable to uncover this act had the mall owner not come forward himself.

The CDA must come under increased scrutiny after this act. It’s officials are being investigated for corruption while it’s senior officer is caught red handed accepting bribes, how far does this malaise spread, and more importantly, under whose patronage is it allowed to grow. If the CDA is corrupt top to bottom then perhaps it is time for a drastic reshuffle, starting from the head of the body, who – willfully or negligently – allowed such acts to happen right under his nose.