Islamabad: Locomotive scam: 2 top PR officials arrested by NAB
ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau arrested on Thursday two more senior officials of the Pakistan Railways — general manager and an additional general manager — for their alleged involvement in a locomotive scam that surfaced during former President Gen Pervez Musharraf’s regime. According to NAB’s media wing head Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, Special Operation Wing of the bureau arrested PRs’ General Manager (Maintenance & Services) Naeem Malik and Additional General Manager (Mechanical) Mian Ahsan Mahmood.
The NAB official said that both the accused had played a key role in purchase of spare parts worth $15.6 million for 69 Chinese locomotives.
The accused were said to be part of the negotiation committee and Naeem Malik, being head of the committee, decided to purchase spare parts at very higher prices.
According to NAB’s investigation, the PR purchased 356 items five times higher than the actual price in the open market; 256 spare parts at double price while 776 such items were purchased which were not the required by the organisation at that time.
The scam surfaced during the Musharraf regime when 69 locomotives from China were purchased for $98 million (Rs5.96 billion approximately) without any assessment whether locomotives were suitable for local environment and conditions.
NAB has already summoned and recorded statements of former top government functionaries, including former Federal Minister for Railways Lt General (retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi, former Chairman of PR Lt Gen (retd) Saeed-uz-Zafar, Major General (retd) Hamid Hasan Butt whereas General Manager of Operations Saeed Akhtar was arrested in March and is still in NAB’s custody. The NAB has already taken the entire record of the scam from the Federal Investigation Agency which had earlier been assigned the task to investigate the scam.
In a separate case, NAB has recovered 200 metric tons of stolen rails of the PR. The rails were sold in Misri Shah Iron Market of Lahore.
The source said not only the PR bureaucracy but some ruling party leaders and senior military officials were involved in different PR scams, but no action was likely to be taken by NAB against politicians and army generals.
The NAB official said that the PR’s Chief Controller of Stores, Khalid Mohiuddin, was already in NAB’s custody.
Cases of corruption in PR include the sale of scrap worth millions of rupees at throwaway price and that purchase of different items for 69 locomotives.
The scrap deal was finalised by incumbent minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour and former Secretary of Railways Samiul Haq Khilji.
The NAB source said that one of the accused in the scam — former PR secretary Samiul Haq Khilji — was out of the country and help of the Interpol would be sought for his arrest.
Scores of trains have suspended their operations recently in the country because of several reasons, including shortage of locomotives, causing a great deal of inconvenience to passengers.