PML-N leader and former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal on Monday approached the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Prime Minister Imran Khan for neglecting the Narowal Sports City Complex and causing “damage” of billions of rupees.
Iqbal said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, under PM Imran, immediately stopped the funding of the project after coming to power, which caused heavy losses to the national exchequer.
In the application to the anti-graft body, PM Imran and his accomplices have been held responsible for “misuse of authority to sabotage a vitally important national project through willful default and criminal breach of trust on political grounds thereby causing billions of rupees loss to national exchequer”.
“It is requested that case be registered against them for willful loss to the national project and they should be made personally liable for any cost escalation in respect of completing the project.”
The minister continued that the Astroturf and athletic field track, imported worth millions of rupees, were not installed in time.
Iqbal further lamented that the release of remaining Rs400 million to complete the project is yet to be made, out of the total approved cost of Rs2.9 billion, adding that 86% of the funds have been spent so far.
“Now additional billions of rupees will have to be spent in remobilization claims and cost escalation heads in order to complete this project.”
‘NAB oblivious to sugar, wheat crisis’
While talking to media earlier today, the PML-N leader said that the NAB is oblivious to the recent sugar and wheat scandal, adding that the authority failed to see the “corruption” committed by the PTI leaders.
He alleged that pressure is put on officials through NAB to “make cases against us [PML-N]”.
Calling Peshawar Bus Rapid Transport the “biggest” corruption scandal, Iqbal said PM Imran has become an “umbrella” to shelter the corruption of his government.
Sports Complex inquiry by NAB against Iqbal
PML-N senior leader, Ahsan Iqbal, has been facing a NAB investigation since July 2018 in connection to a probe into the sports complex built in his hometown, Narowal.
In 2019, he was arrested by the NAB, although the Islamabad High Court granted him bail in February 2020 in relation to the case.
NAB has accused the former planning minister of illegally increasing the cost of the Narowal Sports City complex from Rs35.410 million to Rs97.520 million, without approval from the Planning Commission’s Central Development Working Party (CDWP).
Construction of the complex, which includes a cricket stadium, gymnasium, squash and hockey ground, began in 2009 when Iqbal was in the opposition.
But work picked up pace when the PML-N came to power in the 2013 election. That year, Iqbal was appointed the minister for planning and development.
NAB alleged that Iqbal was the minister of planning and development and the deputy chairman of the CDWP at the time. Rather than taking the project to the CDWP, he instead approved it on his own.
It also contended that Iqbal initiated the project without a feasibility study, which was in violation of the development manual of the Planning Commission.