KARACHI  - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Saturday claimed to have arrested at least 10 suspects during a series of countrywide raids.

The arrested suspects are involved in petroleum sale and purchase and cooperative society scams.

According to the NAB Karachi spokesperson, teams of NAB Karachi during a series of raids in Karachi, Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan arrested at least five accused wanted in the petroleum sale and purchase scam. Accused Akhter Zameer, former general manager (supply) at PSOCL, was arrested in Karachi. Kamran Iftikhar Lari, former chief operating officer (COO) at Byco Pakistan Petroleum Ltd (BPPL) was arrested in Karachi. Qaiser Jamal, former president (refineries) Byco Pakistan Petroleum Ltd (BPPL) arrested in Karachi. Syed Zulfiqar Ali Jaffery, former general manager (retail, consumer business) at PSO and CEO of Jinn Petroleum, was arrested in Islamabad and Dr Syed Nazar A Zaidi, former senior general manager (marketing) at PSO, was arrested in Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan.

The NAB spokesperson said the accused, in connivance with each other, awarded illegal contract of crude oil supply worth Rs2.43 billion to Byco Pakistan Petroleum Limited in 2008-09 and no payment was received. He said that it was also prima facie established against the accused that the PSO management misused their authority to enter into an illegal contract of sale and purchase of petroleum products with Byco Oil Pakistan Limited (BOPL) in 2012 for supply of petroleum products to PSO. BOPL was in fact commissioned in 2013, said the spokesperson.

As a result of illegal agreement, he said, substandard products were supplied to PSO that caused a loss of Rs60 billion to the national exchequer. It was also established prima facie during the course of investigation that in year 2012 the PSO management abused its authority by entering into another illegal agreement with Byco Pakistan Petroleum Limited (BPPL) for sale and purchase of petroleum products whereby PSO supplied superior quality imported products (HSD & Petrol) to BPPL at abnormally subsidized rates, thus causing a huge loss to the national exchequer, he said. He said that three agreements were entered into by PSO with mala fide intent and illegal considerations of extending favours to blue-eyed companies in petroleum business and with intention of personal gains. The entire scam caused a Rs63.687 billion loss to the national exchequer. The spokesperson said the accused arrested in Karachi were produced before an accountability court on July 12 to get their remand.

Zameer and Qaiser Iqbal were remanded in NAB custody for 13 days each, whereas Kamran Iftikhar Lari was remanded to judicial custody on medical grounds. The accused arrested in Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad will be produced on Monday after legal formalities of transit.

NAB Karachi arrested five more accused during a series of raids conducted on Friday and Saturday. According to the NAB spokesperson, the accused were wanted in an investigation against office holders of Karimabad Ismailia Multipurpose Cooperative Society in Karachi. Those arrested are Nazar Ali, purported director of society; Shaukat Hussain, purported chairman; vice chairman of society Zulfiqar Hassan Ali; former purported secretary of society Muhammad Ali; illegal beneficiary of flats and co-conspirator and Sikandar Ali, illegal beneficiary of flat and co-conspirator.

The spokesperson said that the accused persons in connivance with each other held a sham election of society in violation of society by laws and illegally took over management of society, adding that the Karimabad Ismailia Multipurpose Cooperative Society is located at main Federal B Area Karachi.

It was prima facie established against them that they were involved in various offences like misappropriation of society funds, security deposits and transfer fees, said the spokesperson. He added that they made illegal allotments of flats to their favourites in violation of society bylaws. They illegally converted amenity area of more than 9,000 square feet and sold it. The sale amount went to their pockets. The amenity areas were otherwise earmarked for primary school, library, day care centre and recreational area, he said.

The accused caused loss to society to the tune of Rs750 million approximately. The arrested accused have been remanded by accountability court to NAB custody till July 26.