LAHORE: A contractor for the Pakistan’s Public Works Department (PWD) was paid Rs10m to build a swimming pool, car park and boundary wall at a ‘community centre’ in Manga Mandi area of Punjab province that, it later emerged, was his farmhouse.
The scam is among 14 ‘ghost’ development schemes in Lahore, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Okara and Multan that have been uncovered by Pak-PWD inspectors.
In most of these ghost schemes, department officials colluded with contractors to make payment for development schemes when no actual development work had been done, or where development work had been done already by other agencies, according to FIA officials and PWD inspection reports. In some cases, the contractor used substandard materials.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has completed an inquiry and registered cases against PWD officers and contractors at its offices in Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad for causing the public exchequer a loss of Rs160m.
One ghost development scheme was for work on a community centre in Manga Mandi. Muhammad Ismail, of Ismail Construction Co, was contracted in May 2012 to build a swimming pool with a fibre glass roof, a car park and a boundary wall.
A PWD inspection later found that the work done by the contractor had been on his own farmhouse. The contractor was paid over Rs10m for the work.
Further, according to the inspection report, a U-turn was constructed on a main road solely to allow him and his guests easy access to the farmhouse.
The report stated that PWD officials and at least two women parliamentarians had colluded with the contractor and had enjoyed the hospitality at the farmhouse.