ISLAMABAD - The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday asked the National Accountability Bureau to investigate the alleged irregularities in the land lease of ‘Royal Palm and Country Club Lahore’ within six weeks and submit its report.

The committee chaired by Syed Khursheed Shah was briefed about the land lease case of ‘Royal Palm and Country Club’ ostensibly against the rules and regulations.

Shah expressed displeasure over the delay in probing the case by NAB and asked it to submit a complete report. “It is the prime responsibility of this accountability body to avoid any kind of loss to the national exchequer,” said the PAC chairman. Other PAC members also expressed concerns over the delay in probing the particular matter.

Shah also expressed displeasure over Pakistan Railways for not properly utilizing the available documents in this regard.

The Pakistan Railways was directed to bring an internal inquiry report and PR’s land and lease policy on the matter next week.

Secretary Railways Parveen Agha told the committee that the agreement of RPC was signed in 2001 when Gen (retd) Ashraf Qazi was the railway minister at that time.

Director General legal Railways Tahir Pervaiz informed the committee that the accounts of Royal Palm were frozen on the order of the Supreme Court. He said that the matter was referred to the NAB on the order of the Supreme Court. The committee was informed that a former employee of Pakistan Railways Ishaq Khaqwani had challenged this agreement in Supreme Court in 2011.

About its previous history, Khursheed Shah said a parliamentary committee was also formed to resolve the matter in 2009 and incumbent Speaker Ayaz Sadiq was also a member of the committee, which had also termed it illegal and recommended to suspend the agreement. The committee was informed that the irregularities were committed in the award of land lease of ‘Royal Palm and Country Club’ to the private company owned by Sheikh Ramzan.

Director NAB told the committee that the complicated matter was sent to the department in 2012. “The NAB was informed by Pakistan Railways that the procurement file of the agreement has been misplaced,” he said.

Meanwhile, the committee was also informed that the total land of Pakistan Railways was 1,67,690 acre, but 4000 acres have been encroached upon.

Lawmakers Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Syed Naveed Qamar, Arif Alvi, Shafqat Mehmood, Rohail Asghar, Ashiq Gopang, Mian Abdul Manan and others also attended the meeting.

     

our Staff Reporter