LAHORE - The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Lahore has asked the Interior Ministry through its headquarters to form a joint investigation team (JIT) to look into illegal sale of an A-310 aircraft by some PIA officials.

 A letter in this regard was sent to the director of the Economic Crime Wing (ECW) by the director of the FIA, Punjab.

This is the third major corruption scandal, which has surfaced at the national airline in recent years. FIA was already conducting an inquiry into lease of A-330 and A-320 planes at inflated rates. Sources in the FIA said the plane was sold and handed over to a German company even before the tender was opened.

FIA sources said that bids were invited in October 2016 from interested parties by December 12, 2016 for the sale of an A-310 plane. However, they said, the aircraft was sold even before the last date of receipt of bids mentioned in the advertisement. The sources said the aircraft was hired by a company of Malta for 10 days against a payment of 210,000 Euros. The same aircraft was later sold to a German company for 45,500 Euros.

The investigation agency claims that the plane was airworthy and as per annual assessment of the airline its book value was $3.51 million.

According to Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, the airplane was flight worthy and an authentic certificate was issued before it went to Malta for a movie shoot. Later, the airplane was sent to a German museum. He said a national asset had been sold illegally. “All this was done without formal approval of the PIA board of directors,” he said.

FIA sources said the PIA CEO and director of procurement were responsible for the “fishy deal”.