LAHORE - The Punjab government says Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s son-in-law is extending full assisstance in a case of embazzalment detected in an audit of the Punjab Power Development Company Limited, the Punjab Energy Department. 

The Nation ran a story on the court hearing of the case on Sunday (May 22).

The Punjab government has shared with this paper that the chief minister, on knowing about the fraud, from PPDCL Chairman Ch Arif Saeed, had immediately directed him to make all efforts to trace the stolen money.

Anti-Corruption Establishment registered an FIR on the report of the Energy Department the same day. During investigations, it was found that around Rs 240 million had been stolen through forged cheques and deposited into the account of Ms Cosmic Consultants on account of consulting services which had never been procured by PPDCL. The Anti-Corruption Establishment found that cheques had been withdrawn by the then CFO of the company, Ikram Naveed, who was then a BS-20 officer of Audit & Accounts Service, by forging the signatures of the then CEO (Farrukh Ali Shah) and Deputy Secretary Shakeel Ahmed. The ACE arrested the accused and interrogated him.

A professional and thorough investigation by ACE revealed the accused had purchased 19 properties in his and his family’s names (Samina Ikram, wife, and sons, Farjad Ikram and Ahsan Ikram). The ACE also found that external auditors were unable to detect the fraud because Ikram Naveed also furnished them forged documents. The ACE is investigating the role of the external auditor, Deloitte, in the matter.

The chief minister has been closely following the investigation and has publically acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of all the people who detected the scam. He also gave a shield to Bilal Butt (the present CFO) who initially detected the scam.

Since the purchase value of these properties is Rs 240 million, it is likely that the accused committed embezzlement in other government departments. So another enquiry has been ordered by the chief minister in Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) where the accused remained posted from 2003 to 2008. The chief minister has also written to the prime minister to order enquiries into the accounts of the organisations where he remained posted under the federal government.

All the sellers, including Ali Imran, have provided the requisite information and have assisted the investigation in all possible ways. All of these properties, including those purchased from Ali Imran, have been attached by the Anti-Corruption Establishment by obtaining an order from the court. Further investigations are underway.