Munir’s suicide note questions NAB professionalism

ISLAMABAD – Brigadier (retd) Asad Munir, a prominent defence analyst, has raised serious questions on the professionalism of National Accountability Bureau in a letter which he left after taking his life on last Thursday night. However, the senior retired officials of the accountability body said that the NAB case could not be a reason behind his suicide.

In his letter, Munir said: “I remained the Member Estate from 2006 to 2010. For more than six years there was no case against me but since April 2017 my life has been made miserable by NAB.” “I am committing suicide to avoid humiliation, being handcuffed and paraded in front of the media,” he added.

Earlier, NAB issued a press release on March 14 stating the Executive Board Meeting has authorised corruption reference against Kamran Ali Qureshi, former Chairman CDA, Asad Munir, former Estate Member, CDA, Khalid Mehmood, former Director Estate and others. They have been accused of illegal restoration of a plot situated at F-11 by misusing their authority inflicting a heavy loss on the national kitty.

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Munir said in his letter: “A reference has been filed by NAB against me in a case of restoration of a plot back in 2008. I didn’t restore the plot, it was restored by the chairman, I had recommended the restoration as I was convinced that it was as per the CDA restoration policy-2007.”

According to the charge sheet of the case, the Public Account Committee (PAC) during its meeting in early 2016 had directed CDA to refer the case to NAB as it caused a loss of Rs381 million to CDA by illegally restoring Plot No. 20, F-11/1 Islamabad instead of auctioning it as per rules.

As per case details, the beneficiary after allotment of the plot surrendered it to CDA in 1998 and received his money deposited to the Authority after deduction of certain charges as per law and the ownership of the plot came back with CDA as per the law.

After restoration policy of the cancelled plots, the old allottee who had surrendered his plot tried to get it back. However, the allottee was not eligible under the newly restoration policy 2005 and his request was turned down by CDA itself in 2005 as he himself surrendered the same plot to the Authority and received his money back.

But the new management in 2008 through misuse of authority restored the plot for a meagre price illegally. During the course of investigation, NAB called former Chairman CDA, Board members including Asad Munir, former Member Estate and they attended NAB Rawalpindi office in 2016/2017 and recorded their statements. The beneficiary after illegally restoration of plot, on papers sold out it firstly to his son within a day for one Rs12,000,000 to create third party interests. After this, the son of beneficiary sold out the plot in the open market next day for Rs16,000,000 to gain huge illegal benefits.

There are more than seven accused including the then Chairman CDA, board members and beneficiary.

Asad Munir also mentioned in his letter that NAB has initiated three investigations and two inquiries against him during last year.

According to NAB sources, Munir’s name is also part of the illegal allotment of land to the Grand Hayat Hotel and illegal contract of Diplomatic Shuttle Bus service. They said that NAB has strong documentary evidence regarding illegal contract of Shuttle Bus service and the case is on investigation stage. Similarly, they said the NAB has also strong evidence regarding illegal allotment of land to the Grand Hayat Hotel but the Supreme Court had stopped it from working on the case. They said that Memona Saeed who is an experienced investigation officer of the Rawalpindi Bureau is investigating all these cases.

A senior NAB official told The Nation on condition of anonymity that NAB IOs are not as trained as required for investigation of high profiles cases. He said the senior officials of the bureau avail opportunities of foreign training but the IOs and junior officers have been deprived of the facility.

He also said that there is a need to appoint new IOs because the existing staff is overburdened as one investigation officer is working on dozens of cases at one time. He said senior officials of NAB also try to influence investigations and pressurise the IOs for relief to people close to them. He said the NAB investigations and inquiries could be one of the reasons behind the Munir’s suicide.

Talking to The Nation, former Director General NAB Major (Retd) Shahzad Bhatti said that NAB only summoned Munir in 2016 for recording his statement in this case. He said that NAB neither summoned nor arrested him in last two and half years which shows the Bureau filed the corruption reference against him on merit. He said if Munir was not involved in allotment of plot then he could get relief in this case from the accountability court but suicide was not the solution.

He said the letter of Munir was being used only for political mileage. He said that he knows Asad Munir and as a NAB officer he cannot commit suicide due to NAB cases because he had served on key positions during his career.

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