PESHWAR - National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Saturday in a major operation arrested Zakiullah, former Secretary Housing, presently working as Member Provincial Inspection Team and Sharifullah, former Director Finance PHA, presently working as Additional Accountant General Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) from Peshawar.

According to details of the case, in 2012, the Provincial Housing Authority (PHA) Peshawar acquired land for the project ‘Housing Scheme for Government Servants and General Public’ at Mouza Darwaza Nathiagali district of Abbottabad at an exorbitant rate, causing loss to the tune of about Rs400 million to the national exchequer.

The approved site of the scheme was near the main Ayubia-Nathiagail Road but PHA with mala fide intentions and ulterior motives did not acquire the land approved by the competent authority rather acquired land away from the approved site at an extremely high rate. The land, which was worth Rs7-8 lac per kanal was purchased at Rs14-15 lac per kanal through planting front men with the connivance of the then top bureaucrats of PHA, including Sharifullah and Zakiullah.

It may be added that earlier in the case, NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had already arrested three accused persons namely Javed Ahmad, former DG PHA Naveed Qadir, Land Acquisition Collector PHA and Muhammad Asif, front man, which are currently languishing in central jail Peshawar.

During the process of inquiry and in the light of interrogation conducted by NAB authorities it was unearthed that accused Zakiullah being the then secretary Housing misused his authority and facilitated other accused in the embezzlement of Rs400 million from national exchequer and received an illegal gratification of more than Rs20 million.

The other arrested accused Sharifullah being the then director Finance PHA assisted and abetted with other accused persons and transferred the amount to fake accounts and thus facilitated the embezzlement of about Rs400 million and received his illegal share and kick back of Rs2.5 million from the embezzled amount. More than 161 kanal of land was acquired but illegally changed its site at his own to a place in the interest of accused, which was not approved by the PDWP. The government had approved Rs260 million for acquiring the land whereas the accused took away Rs400 million from national exchequer.

While most interesting part of the case is that only Rs115 million was spent as compensation to owners of land and that too at extremely high rates while about Rs285 million eaten up by the accused by dividing among themselves.

The NAB will present the accused persons in the Accountability Court for obtaining physical remand today. NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is actively pursuing the investigation and arrest of some other accused who were behind this scam is expected.