Gilgit-Baltistan’s biggest corruption scandal unearthed

GILGIT:  An assistant commissioner in the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) region and his staff have allegedly received commissions and kickbacks worth millions of rupees for preparing fake award lists for the lands in Thore Valley likely to be submerged due to the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam.

“The officials, including the assistant commissioner of Diamer, a magistrate (Tehsildar) and two Naib Tehsildars prepared a forged award list of over Rs3 billion for barren lands in Thore Valley and received over Rs100 million in kickbacks,” credible sources told The Express Tribune on Saturday.

According to sources, the list – prepared between July and December 2011 – contained exaggerated costs, after ‘demands’ of officials were met by people, including non-residents of Diamer, who are likely to be displaced due to the construction of the dam.

According to preliminary information, the assistant commissioner advised his subordinates to collect money for him as he wanted to purchase a house inLahorewhich cost Rs60 million. The staff, then, ‘cooperated with their boss’ who later transferred the money to a bank account inLahore, believed to be his father’s.  Another source claimed that suspicions arose because of his attempt to transfer the money to his father’s account.

In addition, the assistant commissioner allegedly demanded timber worth millions of rupees as bribe, which was delivered to his house inLahore.

“The assistant commissioner and six others involved in the scam have been suspended and barred from leaving G-B,” a senior district administration official confirmed to The Express Tribune.

The G-B government constituted a committee, headed by the G-B Home Secretary, Asif Bilal, to investigate the scam, which is believed to be the biggest corruption scandal in the region. As events unfolded, the government stopped disbursing funds to people affected by the Diamer-Bhasha dam.

Meanwhile, a senior official said that posting of senior district government officials inDiamerValleywas under consideration. Express  Tribune

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