NAB launches probe against Ahad Cheema’s wife

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LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday initiated a probe against the wife of Ahad Cheema, a former director general of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) in custody of the anti-graft body over alleged corruption.

According to reports, NAB has summoned details of assets owned by Saima Ahad, who is also a government official. Cheema’s wife can also be summoned to record her statement as evidence emerged during the investigation that assets might also be under Saima’s name.

It is pertinent to mention here that Cheema, a Grade-19 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service, was arrested in the ongoing investigation into the irregularities in the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) for awarding a contract for the Aashiana-e-Iqbal housing project.

Cheema, a close aide of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, has served on key posts even being a junior officer. Among the top slots he held during the last decade include higher education department secretary (2009-10), Lahore DCO (2011-12), and LDA DG (2012-16, in two terms). He was presently serving as the QATPL CEO.

The civil bureaucracy also took serious notice of the matter and urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan in a meeting headed by the chief secretary to take suo motu notice of the alleged misuse of powers by the NAB.

According to a NAB official, the former LDA DG was arrested after he failed to appear before a combined investigation team (CIT) of the bureau. He said that the CIT had summoned him for the second time on February 16 with all the relevant record regarding the award of the contract, which was entrusted to him by the chief minister, as well as purchase of 32 kanals of land situated at Mauza Tedha, Cantt Tehsil, Lahore, but he didn’t show up.

“In our second notice issued on February 12, we had made it clear to Cheema that if he didn’t comply with the notice, he might have to face the consequences as provided in Section 2 of the Schedule of NAO, 1999,” the official said, adding the subject section dealt with those accused who avoid co-operating with NAB or hamper its investigation.

The Punjab CM had also appeared before NAB in the same housing project case. The NAB chief had accused the Punjab government of non-cooperation in several inquiries initiated by the anti-graft body, an allegation denied by the provincial administration.

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