AGP discovers Rs77bn irregularities in ETPB’s 7,000 urban properties

Kasim Abbasi
Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022

ISLAMABAD: In a forensic audit, the Auditor General of Pakistan found irregularities worth Rs77 billion in over 7,000 urban properties of the Evacuee Trust Property Board.

The forensic audit supervised by the Supreme Court’s One-Man Commission on minority rights found serious malpractices and irregularities in 7,143 urban properties across the country. The findings were shared with the Federal Investigation Agency.

In order to review the implementation status of forensic audit findings (Phase I & II) of ETPB urban properties and agricultural lands, the Chairman One-Man Commission Dr Muhammad Shoaib Suddle held a meeting on Tuesday with the chairman, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Syed Habib-ur-Rehman Gillani, additional director general FIA Basharat Shahzad, senior officers of Auditor General of Pakistan and Religious Affairs ministry.

In the meeting, the One-Man Commission expressed serious concern over the slow pace in implementation of the Supreme Court’s orders, particularly with regard to the recovery of illegally-occupied properties and outstanding rent of agricultural lands and urban properties.

The commission also urged for finalisation of thousands of pending decisions in the cases related to properties at the level of secretary Ministry of Religious Affairs and chairman and zonal officers of ETPB. During the meeting, it was agreed to expedite the implementation of Supreme Court’s orders by putting in place an effective monitoring and review mechanism.

The proposed mechanism included monthly review meeting on first Tuesday of every month under the chair of One-Man Commission. Besides, it will review key findings of the Forensic Audit Report (Phase I & II) in detail such as existing status, achievement of monthly targets and conclusion of pending tasks.

The focus of the review would be on recovery of illegally-occupied urban properties and agricultural lands, recovery of rent of the same and status of pending cases with the secretary MoRA, chairman ETPB and Zonal Offices.

On the occasion, the chairman One-Man Commission for Minority Rights particularly underscored the need of meaningful cooperation among the relevant officials of MoRA, ETPB and FIA.

It is pertinent to mention that the Supreme Court had directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to take action on the report of the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) regarding alleged irregularities in property units of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB). It also directed the FIA DG to launch an operation for clearing the illegally-occupied properties of the board.