LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said, after appearing before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in an inquiry related to the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme, that the summons by the body were based on ill intentions.
The chief minister said he could have sent a written reply to the accountability body but appeared personally for the supremacy of law.
Shehbaz appeared before the body and recorded his statement for an hour and a half earlier on Monday.
Addressing a press conference here he said that he would not have taken the support of earlier decisions by NAB if he had not wanted to appear before the committee.
“Is it a crime to save the money of the nation?” said the CM Punjab, adding if stopping corruption is a crime then ‘he will commit this crime again’.
He said that according to the Ashiana Quaid-e-Azam Scheme, the target was to construct 1,700 houses for the poor.
Giving details of the project, Shehbaz said in March 2014 the land was empty and barren, adding that it was during former army chief General (retd) Pervez Kiyani’s tenure that the land was procured.
Shehbaz said further that the Bank of Punjab funded the scheme and the plan was aimed at benefiting the poor and underprivileged.
As for the allegation regarding cancelling Chaudhry Latif’s contract, he said that Latif’s contract was related to roads and infrastructure.
Shehbaz further stated that he was accused of violation of laws. According to rules of business, the government has to monitor different projects.
“As the chief minister, I am the in-charge of the province, the government functions on the basis of performance,” said CM Punjab.
On January 17, NAB Lahore had issued a notification stating that it has been conducting an inquiry against management/officials of Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC), Lahore Casa Developers, Lahore Development Authority and others.
The letter read that the prima facie, Shehbaz Sharif, being the Punjab chief minister, ordered “cancellation of award of contract of Ashiana-e-Iqbal to successful bidder Ch Latif and Sons, leading to award of contract to Lahore Casa Developers (JV), a proxy of Paragon City (Pvt) Limited, which resulted in the loss of Rs193 million approximately.”