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EOBI scandal: SC gives DHA 48 hours to deposit Rs 22bn

18 July, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: After receiving the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) preliminary report about a non-transparent deal between the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Employees' Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) regarding the purchase of land, the Supreme Court has given 48 hours to the DHA to deposit Rs 22 billion with the SC Registrar that the EOBI had paid to the housing society for the purchase of 321 kanals of land.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry directed the counsel for DHA, Ahmer Bilal Sufi, to deposit the money or furnish the details of the assets of the authority. The court also warned the DHA that its assets could be frozen if the money was not deposited. Hearing the suo motu case pertaining to the Rs 40 billion scandal of EOBI, the bench also ordered six other individuals to deposit Rs 7,087 million that had been received from the EOBI fund for the purchase of properties.

The chief justice made it clear that despite the payment, criminal labiality against the persons responsible would also be fixed at a later stage. The court noted: "It has been noted that in a highly non-transparent manner a deal was entered between EOBI and DHA. As much as PEPRA rules etc were not followed and on a higher rate the land of lower cost was purchased and Rs 22.24 billion was paid." The bench further observed that the DHA Islamabad had handed over the allotment letters to the EOBI but through such letters the title of the land could not be transferred. Further, such transfers of titles are not in accordance with the transfer of Property Act and Stamps Act, the bench observed.

During the hearing, submitting a preliminary report regarding the EOBI scandal, FIA Additional Director General (Legal) Azam Khan said the around Rs 22 billion deal between EOBI and DHA regarding the purchase of land was not transparent and no PEPRA rules were followed in this regard. He informed the bench that the FIA team along with the Islamabad district revenue officer had also visited the site and they witnessed that no development had taken place in this matter.

He also questioned the legality of the allotment letters which had been issued by DHA. Azam Khan further revealed that earlier, through a tripartite agreement between DHA, Bharia Town and Habib Rafique in 2009, the authority allowed the two other companies to develop the land and run its marketing campaign. For that the DHA was to pay 70 percent of the share to Bahria Town. Ahmer Bilal Sufi told the bench that after Rs 22 billion transaction with EOBI, the DHA had given Rs 11 billion to Bahria Town for the development of 321 kanals of land. He requested the bench to give some time for depositing the amount with the SC registrar office. Upon this, the chief justice said that they had no concern about any other party, including the Bahria Town.

Huzaifaur Rehman, a reporter at a private TV channel, who had reported the corruption in the EOBI in his story, told the bench that he was sacked from his job after airing of this corruption story because a large number of influential persons were involved in this scandal. He also complained that his TV channel did not pay salary of the last two months. Upon this, the court directed the owner of the private TV channel not to sack him and pay his salary immediately. Justice Jawwad noted that some persons were threatening the reporter. The chief justice directed IG police to provide security to the him. The hearing of the case has been adjourned until tomorrow (Friday).

End.

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