NA body lashes out at MoC, NICL for being unaware

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly (NA) Committee on Commerce Thursday expressed resentment that how come the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) and Ministry of Commerce (MoC) failed to uncover massive corruption in four land purchases made by NICL, which caused a loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer.MNA Engineer Khurram Dastigir Khan chaired the meeting at the Parliament House and gave briefing about corruption done in NICL land purchase. Later, talking to media persons Khurram said though the case is in Supreme Court, the committee wants updates on the issue. He was of the view that both officials of NICL and MoC have failed to dig out corruption in NICL land purchase.He said that there are no institutional channels in MoC/NICL to keep a check on corruption and maintain accountability, as scandal of about Rs 5 billion was unearthed and “why the matter was trailed in the SC and how come the concerned officials in MoC and NICL did not act promptly.” Khurram further said it should raise everyone’s concerns that how this issue escaped notice of internal audit teams.About involvement of MPA (Punjab) Moonis Elahi, he told the committee was informed that a manager of a company owned by the “Chaudhry family” informed the FIA that an amount of Rs 220 million was withdrawn by the concerned Punjab MPA — as the withdrawn money was allegedly transferred for purchase of 20-canal land at Airport Road Lahore Cantt. Moreover, the committee at the Parliament House pointed out that although malafide attention of evaluation is there but favoritism and attention was mainly done by the decision makers in MoC/ NICL. The committee recommended that evaluation should be made carefully i.e. on the basis of DC rates.

The committee unanimously suggested calling on the Transparency International, FIA, SECP and concerned additional secretary of MoC who was member of the BoDs in 2009. It also suggested that the file containing constitution of BoDs, their CVs in MoC be examined/probed and the Standing Committee be informed that how the BoDs members were proposed and nominated. The committee also pinpointed that summaries for appointment of the BoDs were always made in the MoC and asked how/from where CVs were obtained and why the representative of Ministry of Finance Division was not included in the BoDs.The committee expressed serious concerns over the level of corruption in national entities and desired to draw attention of the concerned departments to probe investments of Rs 1.686 billion, Rs 1.2 billion, Rs 1.6 billion and Rs 981 million, made by the NICL in July 2009. More importantly, before this transaction, the NICL had no investment in real estates except two buildings in Islamabad. The committee enquired why Minister for Commerce — former member of the BoDs in July 2009, Shafqat Hussain Naghmi Additional Secretary and Ch Qamar Zaman Secretary have not pointed out this scandal – Dailytimes