Malam Jabba Resort Project has been declared a mega fraud to grab costly land of the Forest Department
Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, KP CM Mahmood Khan, Provincial Minister for Sports and Culture Atif Khan have recorded their statements
Investigations reveal that neither any feasibility nor any technical, financial and prequalification criteria was set for the project
PESHAWAR: The National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, after declaring the contract of the Malam Jabba Resort Project a mega fraud to grab costly land of the Forest Department, has sent the case to the NAB Headquarters.
According to NAB investigations, the Samsons Group of Companies was not eligible to get the contract, but was awarded it in violation of rules and regulations, for which the due date for submitting tenders was extended. The NAB Executive Board, in a meeting chaired by NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, will approve arrests or filing of a reference.
The Malam Jabba scandal surfaced on January 7, 2018. The NAB chairman, after declaring it a glaring example of corruption and misuse of authority, ordered an inquiry on January 9, 2018. The NAB KP converted the inquiry into investigation and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, KP CM Mahmood Khan, Provincial Minister for Sports and Culture Atif Khan and several bureaucrats recorded their statements.
According to documents available with The News, former CM Pervez Khattak, in two meetings on October 11 and December 19, 2013, had decided to contact the Australian government or the PAF for the project, but the Tourism Department made no such contact.
Investigations reveal that neither any feasibility nor any technical, financial and prequalification criteria was set for the project. The Tourism Department had sought tenders from experienced companies. The Samsons Group of Companies had no experience to run a hotel or a chairlift. So this company did not come up to the required criteria. Despite that, a sub-committee gave 60.5 marks to the company as per technical criteria. The officers concerned could not give an explanation in this regard during investigations.
The due date to submit tenders was March 31, 2014. It was extended to April 10, 2014 and a notification was issued on April 14. The Samsons Group of Companies submitted its tender after March 31 and the announcement to extend the due date was made only on website that is a violation of Section 27 of PEPRA rules. The company offered Rs 60 lakh for the Malam Jabba Hotel at a rate of Rs 12 lakh per Acre. Later, the company offered two bids of Rs 60 lakh each for the hotel and the chairlift that was against rules.
According to NAB investigations, 270 of 275 Acres were the protected property of the KP Forest Department. Giving this land on lease was a violation of Section 105 of the KP Forest Ordinance. But no contact with the Forest Department was made in this context that is also a violation of Rule 8 of the KP Rules of Business 1985.
The government and Forest Department record shows that 55 Kanal and 18 Marlas are part of the Malam Jabba Resort, whereas 268 Acre and 2 Marlas are the protected land of the Forest Department. The Forest and Environment Departments opposed leasing out the protected land because the protected land of the forest was not part of the Malam Jabba Hotel. But including this clause was based on ill-intension and it aimed at initiating a mega fraud of costly land of the Forest Department.
After opposition by the Forest Department, a notification for the lease of 12 Acre and 15 Kanals was cancelled under Section 32 of the KP Forest Ordinance on April 3, 2017. But this cancellation was also illegal as the CM had no authority to cancel such a lease.
On January 5, 2018, the provincial government signed an amended contract which was also against rules and regulations. According to NAB investigations, CM Khattak illegally gave approval to extend the lease period from 15 years to 33 years. However, after appearing before the NAB on April 25, 2018, he got an approval from the cabinet on May 4, 2018 to give a legal cover to the extension.