Haj scam probe lands at PM`s Secretariat -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Haj scam probe lands at PM`s Secretariat

By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD: The Haj scam has reached the doorstep of the Prime Minister`s Secretariat as the appointment of one of the main suspects, Zain Sukhera, a friend of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani`s son, in the secretariat and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) is being probed during the investigation.

According to sources in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), it came out during the investigation that Mr Sukhera, who has been accused of having fake educational qualifications, served as a legal adviser at the secretariat and then at the SNGPL between 2008 and 2010.

Earlier, he was facing allegations about his time as an adviser to the ministry of information technology during last year.

“Those who appointed the accused at the Prime Minister`s Secretariat and the SNGPL will also be investigated,” an official said.

A case has been registered against a former IT secretary for appointing him.

“The PM`s Secretariat will have to tell why Mr Sukhera was appointed as adviser there and in the SNGPL,” the official said.

However, FIA`s bosses have virtually exonerated the prime minister`s son Abdul Qadir Gilani from the main case and he is only facing an investigation about his luxury bullet-proof vehicle.

The FIA team investigating alleged irregularities and corruption in the arrangements made for Pakistani Haj pilgrims last year have asked the prime minister`s son several questions about the purchase of the vehicle.

The Supreme Court has asked the agency to ascertain the source of the money used to buy the jeep which was reportedly imported from Dubai. The price of the vehicle is said to be over Rs15 million.

The agency has also been asked to find out whether Abdul Qadir Gilani had any role in the appointments of former Haj director general Rao Shakeel and IT ministry`s adviser Zain Sukhera and in hiring of buildings for pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

It had been alleged that the prime minister`s son had received Rs20 million from Rao Shakeel and used the amount to import the Land Cruiser last year. The sources said Mr Qadir could not provide details of how he had purchased the vehicle from Dubai.

His bank accounts did not show that he had $48,000 to purchase the vehicle. The accounts also nod not throw light on how he paid Rs8.5 million in taxes and import duty, the sources alleged.

Mr Qadir had written letters to the FIA and visited the agency`s headquarters on Feb 21.
Source: Dawn
Date:3/8/2011