LAHORE - Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment has launched an inquiry into alleged corruption of ACE Director (Technical), sources told The Nation on Wednesday.

The position of Director (Technical) is considered as ‘back bone’ of the department, as the technical wing of ACE is the most important section which looks into the mega corruption cases like roads, buildings, dams and other projects.

Aftab Ghani, whose appointment was already in sheer violation of Anti Corruption Rules, was found involved in taking heavy bribe from people who prepared recording when he was receiving illegal gratification.

After witnessing the proofs, ACE Directior General Brig (r) Muzaffar Ali Ranjha called the said officer in his office and earlier it was decided to arrest him but, later on, he was allowed to go home.

However, an inquiry has been initiated against him and a three member inquiry team has been constituted to look into the matter. “We are gathering evidences from different districts against accused to gauge the actual size of corruption committed by the accused,” said an ACE officer, seeking anonymity.

Aftab Ghani was a junior and non-technical officer appointed against a technical post in Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) in violation of the Services Rules. The grade-19 post of technical director was given to Ghani of grade-18 in 2015 who was from Punjab Employees Social Security Institution (PESSI) of Punjab Labour Department that doesn’t fall in the rightful category to be appointed against above said post.

The Punjab Anti Corruption Service Rules 2007 read, “The appointing authority of the post of technical director is chief minister while qualification of the candidate should be BSc (civil engineering) from a recognised university.”

The rules adds: “The post will be filled by promotion on the basis of selection on merit from amongst Deputy Director (Technical) BS-18 having such minimum length of service as may be prescribed by the government and successful completion of the in service mandatory training course meant for senior engineer or Deputy Directors (Tech) of ACE at the Government Engineering Academy Punjab, Lahore. “If none is available for promotion, then posting an officer of the rank of Superintending Engineer from any engineering department of government of the Punjab.”

The Communication and Works (C&W), Irrigation, Highways, Building departments and Punjab Housing and Physical Planning Department fall in the this category. Director Technical is a most sensitive section of the ACE where inquiries of billions of rupees are conducted. Currently inquiries of megal development projects like Saaf Paani, Orange Line Metro Train, Rahim Yar Khan Development are under way.

Status of the accused officer is yet to be cleared whether he was suspended or not. However he has not been attending office for the last couple of days. The ACE director general and spokesman were unavailable to comment on the matter despite repeated attempts to contact them.