NAB files corruption reference against FCS officials

KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau filed on Wednesday a corruption reference against two former chairmen of the Fishermen Cooperative Society (FCS) and others

The then chairman of the FCS, Dr Nisar Ahmed Jan Memon, alias Nisar Morai, former chairman Abdul Saeed Khan, ex-vice chairman Sultan Qamar Siddiqui and 10 other officials and contractors have been accused of misusing their authority, embezzlement of funds, illegal appointments and awarding fake contracts during 2014-15, causing a loss of over Rs343 million to the national exchequer.

The administrative judge of the accountability courts, Karachi, Sher Bano Karim, admitted the reference and sent it to accountability court-I for trial. The AC-I fixed the reference on Jan 18 for hearing.

According to the reference, Nisar Morai was appointed FCS director in December 2013. He took over as chairman in January 2014 and remained head of the FCS till June 2015. He was also holding another public office as a medical officer (BS-18) in the health department and has been drawing salary till May 2015.

It further said that Mr Morai allegedly made 343 illegal appointments without following due process and procedure and misappropriated funds.

Saeed Khan allegedly made 155 illegal appointments and Sultan Siddiqui also got his father-in-law, brother-in-law and other relatives appointed in the FCS against the law.

NAB further alleged that in the reference that these officials in collusion with others also embezzled funds by awarding fake contracts to counterfeit companies.

NAB also named the then manager of the FCS, Haji Wali Mohammad, former finance manager Shahid Hussain, former market manager Riaz Ahmed, audit manager Shaukat Hussain and six others as accused in the reference.

Dr Morai, believed to be an important figure of the Sindh PPP, was appointed chief of the FCS in a controversial manner in January 2014 and he mysteriously disappeared soon after the paramilitary force had arrested Sultan Qamar and others in June 2015. Later, Mr Siddiqui, his brother and an aide were named in the Safoora Goth bus carnage case for allegedly providing arms to the assailants. However, a military court acquitted them in that case.

Eventually, the Rangers picked up Dr Morai in March 2016 and detained him for the 90-day preventive detention for questioning.

After three months, he was handed over to the police for his alleged involvement in the murder of a former chairman of Pakistan Steel Mills. Later, he was released on bail and the trial is still pending before a sessions court. Former PSM chief Sajjad Hussain was gunned down in the Defence Housing Authority in 1998.

Sultan Qamar is also facing trial in another corruption reference before AC-II for allegedly accumulating assets worth Rs47.6 million through corruption during his tenure in the FCS as the same was beyond his legal sources of income.