Corruption worth Rs 60 million in LED street lights exposed by NAB

Daily Times

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) launched an investigation on Tuesday into alleged irregularities and corruption in Light Emitting Diode (LED) street lights and development projects of Municipal Corporation Rawalpindi (MCR).

A citizen had registered a complaint with the country’s top accountability body asking for an investigation into the streets lights project in which he termed it substandard and low quality.

According to official sources, LED street lights were installed in more than 46 union councils and different roads of Rawalpindi.

The accountability body issued a notice to municipal officer infrastructure for the explanation and replay of the allegations raised in the application by a citizen.

According to the information availed through Right to Information (RTI) act, 1,640 stadium lights of 250 Watts was also replaced with 30 and 60W LED lights.

During the financial year 2016 to 2017, Rs 60 million were spent on the purchase of 1,753 streets lights of 30 and 60W LED lights. The contract was awarded to four different companies including Unison, HBK, Faiz-e-Aam and Mubbashir Trading, data shows.

Sources said that the quality of LED purchased was substandard and was on much higher cost than the market price. Instead of installing the lights on the requirement of the areas, these LED lights were distributed to near and dears. Due to the poor quality, a large number of the LED street lights are now out of order, sources added.

Similarly, according to the sources, in pursuance of a complaint filed by a citizen, NAB has also initiated an investigation of alleged corruption and irregularities in the development projects conducted by the MCR.

According to information availed through RTI, the MCR has allocated Rs 480 million for 231 annual development projects of the year 2017-18 and 2018-19, out of which Rs 300 million has already been spent on different development projects.

Sources said that substandard material is used in different construction projects, while there are some projects which are not executed in real but the authority along with the alleged involvement of the local body representatives has withdrawn the amount.

A senior official of the Municipal Corporation requesting anonymity said that audit officer of local fund audit department, who is serving for the last 16 years in the same department, is helping the Municipal Corporation Infrastructure department in the clearance of the bills.

A large number of RTI requests regarding LED street lights project are also pending in the department. The concerned officials are reluctant in sharing the information with the public.

Despite repeated attempts, NAB Spokesperson Nawazish Ali and Municipal Officer Infrastructure Rafaqat Gondal could not be reached for comment.

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