PWD engineer caught taking a bribe in Multan
MULTAN: One often hears rumours and stories of corruptions within our public infrastructure development system. On Wednesday, however, one engineer was nabbed pocketing one million rupees in commission for a project in Multan. A Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team along with a judicial magistrate raided and caught engineer Hafiz Ramzan and SDO Khadim Hussain of the Public Works Department (PWD) just as they pocketed the bribe.
However, the raid would not have been possible if the contractor, Amjad Mughal, who had been exhorted to pay a bribe on the Rs20 million project, had not alerted the authorities.
Minutes after he exited Ramzan’s office after paying the commission, he signalled to the waiting FIA team. Agents swooped in, the bribe Mughal had just paid was recovered from Ramzan’s posession. Though, Rs400,000 that had been paid as an advance by Mughal was still unaccounted for.
Authorities had long suspected Ramzan to have been involved in a number of cases where he was believed to have received kick backs and commissions. FIA sources said that Ramzan had even been transferred from Quetta to Multan by the government.
Mughal said that allotment of the contract had been set for February 24. He claimed that Ramzan had demanded Rs1.4 million as commission to pass his bid. “I had earlier paid Rs400,000, and today I paid Rs one million to him just before the raid,” Mughal said.
Multan has been a hub of developmental projects in last four years ever since Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani focused on developing his home town in south Punjab. Currently more than Rs1.5 billion worth of projects are under way in Multan alone by the PWD, and more than Rs17 billion worth of projects in the south Punjab region.
An investigative official said that it was possible executive officials were part of a chain of corruption. He further said that Ramzan is a senior engineer but enjoyed the authority of Chief Engineer, while the post of the Chief Engineer lay vacant.
Ramzan had been working in the Multan camp office, overlooking projects in centre and south Punjab.
Jamshaid Dasti, Member of the Housing and Works committee of National Assembly told The Express Tribune that he will raise the issue in the assembly to investigate the matter at national level. He alleged that Ramzan was the right hand of Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q ) Federal Minister of Housing and Works Faisal Saleh Hayat and that Ramzan had been transferred from Quetta to Multan on the insistence of the Minister.
Dasti alleged that Ramzan used to give 12% commission on each assignment to Hayat, having ‘donated’ Rs4.5 billion rupees so far.
Dasti prayed that Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry take suo motu notice of this mega corruption case.
FIA officials are planning to request the judge to grant custody of Ramzan when they produce him in court. They hope to secure the physical remand and recover the remaining Rs400,000 from his possession.