Supreme Court has summoned the Prosecutor General of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a suo moto notice case regarding the irregularities in Punjab Saaf Pani Company (PSPC).
The court noticed that even though the government has spent Rs 4 billion on the project already, the public is yet to receive a single drop of clean water. Supreme Court Lahore registry heard the case in which several officials of the company, including the CEO, appeared before the court.
The apex court remarked that SC will make sure that public’s money spent illegally on the project is returned.
Punjab Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed was summoned by the court to clarify expenses on the project. He informed the court that Rs 4 billion have been spent on the project so far which includes consultancy fees of foreign experts and salaries, perks etc.
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Punjab Saaf Pani Company’s (PSPC) CEO Capt (r) Muhammad Usman submitted the expenses’ report as well that included staff salaries, commute packages and other perks and privileges. The CEO, in his report, said that overall Rs 150 billion were allocated for the Saaf Pani project. Rs 300 million were spent on services of foreign consultants while another Rs 4 billion went for the construction of 116 water plants.
However, the court was not satisfied with the report and rejected it entirely. The CEO was directed to submit another report detailing all expenditure by the company so far. Chief Justice of Pakistan said;
Everyone will be held accountable; I will ensure that every penny of the nation is returned. So much money was spent on advertising but the project was not completed.
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CJP further added that CEOs of the government-linked companies will get the same salary package as government servants working the same position. Justice Saqib Nisar told;
A government servant is being favoured [by being appointed as a CEO] with a Rs 1.4 million salary so that he may be used to get work done at any point.
Former CEO of the company was also present at the hearing of the notice. Waseem Ajmal, ex-CEO, informed the court that Chief Minister Punjab interfered in the hiring process even though he had no authority to do so. He added;
Local experts were replaced by foreign experts on orders of the chief minister.
The court further questioned how and why Asim Qadri and his wife, Uzma Qadri, are the board members of the company. Asim Qadri is Zaeem Qadri’s brother who is the Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister.
The Chief Justice also contemplated the possibility of sending the case to NAB with a 15-day deadline. The hearing of the case has been adjourned till April 14 and NAB prosecutor general has been directed to appear on the date.