Depts not cooperating in water plants inquiry, NAB tells court

The News

PESHAWAR: The National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday told the Peshawar High Court (PHC) that the provincial government departments were not cooperating with it in an inquiry concerning abandoning of two water treatment plants that were established in the provincial metropolis at a huge cost.
The deputy prosecutor general, Jamil Khan, informed a division bench comprising Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Qalandar Ali Khan that the NAB had submitted its initial report regarding an inquiry about abandoning the plant despite spending huge amount on it, but the departments concerned were not cooperating in provision of the record sought by it.
The court was dissatisfied with the NAB report and it was directed to improve things and properly conduct the inquiry about embezzlement of funds as the culprits ought to be brought to justice.
The court also expressed concern over the government departments’ attitude and summoned the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary.When Chief Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch appeared in the court, Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan asked him as to why the KP government departments are not cooperating with the NAB in the inquiry.
Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan questioned him as to where Rs3.2 billion was spent as the water treatment plants had been abandoned. He observed that the court would bring to justice the officials involved in the embezzlement of funds.
The chief secretary replied that the departments are cooperating with the NAB. He assured that the court would be informed where the funds were spent. “On the one hand, the government is complaining of lack of funds and visiting various countries to seek assistance while on the other funds are being embezzled and nobody knows about it,” Justice Qaiser Rashid remarked.
The court directed the chief secretary to submit report before December 6, which is the next date of hearing.The court also took notice of pollution and damage to Peshawar city due to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. It asked the chief secretary to personally visit the BRT sites across the city and improve things as the BRT had made life miserable for the public.
During a previous hearing, the court had directed the NAB director general to conduct an inquiry into the BRT.The secretary Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar (WSSP) appeared in the court and submitted that the government is going to establish dumping site in the city for disposal of waste.
WSSP legal advisor Atif Ali Khan informed the bench that out of four approved water treatment plants for the city, only one was running in good condition, two had been abandoned and the fourth one was yet to be established.
He submitted that as per the WSSP estimates, Rs23 billion were required for rehabilitation of the two old abandoned treatment plants and establishment of the new one.
The court was hearing various writ petitions related to pollution and sewerage treatment plants. One petition filed by a lawyer Malik Misraf sought directions for the authorities concerned to resolve the issue of waste and pollution on an emergency basis in the city. He said that as per the World Health Organization report, Peshawar had become the second most polluted city in the world. Malik Misraf also provided photographs of the waste dumped in different localities of the city and other details.

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