ISLAMABAD - Rampant corruption in the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) is hampering its key mega projects , including Sindh Arms Licence Project, reveals an internal inquiry.

The fact-finding inquiry of Nadra shows how its higher officers at the headquarters minted a huge amount of money from a private contractor as a reward for awarding a contract of renovation and maintenance of different sites for the Sindh Arms License Project. The high-ups of the Project Directorate of Nadra headquarters also kept on pressurising the contractor to get more money as kickbacks during the project threatening to scrap the programme.

According to insiders, Nadra authorities hushed up this scam through an internal inquiry to save the skin of some DG-level officers and avoided referring the fraud case to any federal investigation agency like FIA though criminal offence of corruption pointed out in the probe. The fraud matter was also kept away from the eyes of interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Some weeks ago, Nadra came to the spotlight when according to a report of the country' premier intelligence agency – ISI – some top ranking officers of the authority have been found issuing illegal computerised national identity cards (CNICs) to local and foreign terrorists, including members of Qaeda and Taliban.

The internal inquiry report says private contractor Ikram s/o Muhammad Ramzan not only distributed Rs2 million out of total 12 million project, in two instalments among three senior officers of the Project Directorate but Director Projects Faisal Jamshed also pressurised the contractor to renovate his office illegally and he did this with an amount of Rs 0.5 million. Nadra vigilance unit and other higher authorities remained unaware because no one ever asked from the director from where the budget came for renovation of his office that is situated at the authority's headquarters in Islamabad.

The director got revamped his office with imported wooden flooring, five seated sofa and two-ton imported air conditioner. "As per the statement of contractor, Faisal Jamshed, Director Projects, got his office renovated by contractor free of cost," the findings of the inquiry say.

"Ikram (contractor) stated he was pressurised and blackmailed by Faisal Jamshed through Ibrahim (assistant director Nadra) for bribe and he was threatened for cancellation of his purchase order if their demands were not met. Mr Ikram also pointed out that he was also pressurised for renovation of director project' room while it was not part of approved BOQ," inquiry officer said in the report.

Nadra is involved into a number of local and international projects including arms licenses, driving licenses, income support programme and distribution of money for flood affected people etc besides its primary responsibility is to CNICs and birth certificates to the citizens.

The inquiry report reveals that the private contractor gave away Rs 1.3 million to assistant director of Project Directorate Ibrahim Khan Swati as a first instalment to keep his contract intact and out of the total bribe money, Director Projects Faisal Jamshed got his share of Rs 0.6 million, deputy director Khizer Misbah got Rs 0.3 million while Ibrahim kept Rs 0.4 million with himself as his share out of bribe money.

Similarly, the contractor gave Rs 0.7 million to assistant director as the second instalment and that was supposed to be distributed among these three officers but vigilance cell of Nadra caught Ibrahim red handed on 27th May 2015 while taking bribe and confiscated the amount. According to the statement of assistant director, Rs 0.5 million was supposed to be given to Faisal Jamshed and Rs0.2 million to his deputy Khizer Misbah out of the second instalment.

The inquiry officer Syed Muzaffar Ali, Director General Operations Nadra, in the report stated that Ibrahim confessed taking bribe of Rs 2 million in two instalments, one of Rs1.3 million and other of Rs 0.7 million from vendor who was working for Sindh Arms License Project. During the inquiry, Ibrahim confessed that he distributed money between deputy director Khizer Misbah and director Faisal Jamsed. Interestingly, Nadra authorities never probed the director nor sent the matter to the Federal Investigation Agency for detailed probe.

The inquiry says that Ikram (contractor) confessed that he was providing money to Sindh Arms License Project team through Ibrahim. "Mr Ibrahim (AD) confessed that he pressurized the contractor Mr Ikram as he was pressurized by his director Faisal Jamshed and deputy director Khizer Misbah for taking bribe from contractor," say the findings of the inquiry.

The contractor in his statement also alleged that these three officers of Project Directorate separately deducted Rs 2 million from his claims (bills) submitted after renovation of sites for the project.

An officer of Nadra who was not authorized to speak to media said that all these three officers had been removed from service on corruption charges. But he had no answer when he was asked why the corruption case was not referred to FIA to ascertain the role of senior officers, in any, in the case. He also avoided answering whether any inquiry was conducted against other two officers or they were removed from service without conducting proper inquiry just to give them benefit in appeal. The officer was unaware about the recovery of looted money.

A detailed questionnaire was sent to Nadra spokesman Sammad Khurram containing seven questions about the corruption case on September 22 but he did not respond till the filing of the story despite an assurance that he would give his response after discussing with the chairman Nadra.