HYDERABAD/SUKKUR, June 18: The National Accountability Bureau (Nab) spent a busy day on Thursday when they arrested at least four public officials on charges of corruption.
The Nab Karachi circle raided the office and residence of a former town municipal officer (TMO) in Sehwan, Jamshoro, early on Thursday, and arrested three TMOs on corruption charges. The team, led by assistant director Aslam Pervez Abro, arrived at the office on Wednesday afternoon but they stayed till past midnight as they looked through records.
The TMOs were taken into the custody along with the official record at around 4am. The NAB sources said they delayed the arrest because the Jamshoro police deployed their men outside the TMO’s office to prevent their arrest. Over 100 workers of the TMO and their supporters also gathered outside the office apparently to deter the NAB team from detaining them.
The men who were arrested include former Sehwan TMO Rehmatullah Memon, who is currently posted in Matiari district, town officer finance Zahoor Ahmed Shahani and engineer Idrees Memon. The team also raided the residence of incumbent TMO Asghar Bhund but he had already escaped from his residence.
“The arrested accused persons and others are involved in corruption worth Rs120 million, which they committed through withdrawal of illegal cheques and issued huge amounts to fake contractors and parties,” said a NAB press statement issued on Thursday.
According to a NAB official, they called Memon from Matiari to ask some questions but when he could not justify the expenditures on various schemes during his tenure, they arrested him for further investigations.
The police allowed the NAB team to take the officers after recording a ‘musheer nama’ about their detention at Sehwan police station. The officers are charged with falsifying accounts, making fake purchases and releasing salaries to ghost employees, besides embezzlement in the budget.
Separately, a NAB team also raided TMO Bathoro in Sujawal district on Thursday and seized records. They also arrested TMO Wasif Malik. Another former TMO of Sujawal, Mumtaz Ali Zardari, was also arrested from Karachi. Zardari was posted as TMO Sujawal between June and July last year. “The arrested accused was allegedly involved in corruption worth Rs100 million, which he committed through withdrawal of illegal cheques and issued huge amounts to fake contractors and parties,” said the NAB statement.
Excise and taxation secretary arrested
Earlier on June 4 this year, NAB had also arrested excise and taxation secretary Badar Jamil Mandhro on charges of selling gold worth Rs100 million to a jeweller in Karachi.
When Mandhro was the minority affairs secretary, he sold gold worth Rs100 million to a jeweller in Karachi in 2013, a NAB official told The Express Tribune. He was also accused of illegally handing out jobs in exchange for bribes. Sources said that the secretary was arrested from his office, after he had failed to show up before the NAB officer despite being issued a notice. After the initial investigation, Mandhro was produced before the court, which granted him a 15-day remand.
On May 8, NAB deputy director for the financial crimes investigation wing issued a notice to Faheemuddin, the owner of Islamia Jewellers in Karachi, directing him to appear before him on May 14, along with the original purchase register, purchase bills, details regarding the mode of payment and relevant records. This notice, according to the NAB official, was issued to the jeweller regarding the purchase of gold worth Rs100 million from Badar Jamil Mandhro in 2013.
The officer previously worked as a secretary under the women development ministry, was appointed the minority affairs secretary and is presently serving as the excise and taxation department secretary. A highly placed officer in the Sindh government told The Express Tribune that Mandhro’s arrest means that NAB has sufficient evidence against him.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2015.