The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) ordered the immediate evacuation of One Constitution Avenue on Wednesday.
The decision was made during a PAC meeting after the owners of the building failed to pay over Rs. 14 billion, leading to the cancellation of their land lease. As a result, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has taken control of the building.
During the meeting, the committee also directed for the names of the building owners to be added to the Exit Control List (ECL) and for their bank accounts to be frozen by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
The PAC Chairman, Noor Alam Khan, asked the CDA Chairman whether the Supreme Court could change the building’s plan, raising questions about the authority of the Chief Justice at the time.
The CDA Member State explained that the lease of One Constitution Avenue was canceled in 2016 due to non-payment but was later reinstated on the orders of the Supreme Court.
However, the lease was once again canceled on Tuesday due to non-payment and an administrator was appointed to the building. The CDA has a responsibility to recover more than Rs. 14 billion from the owners of One Constitution Avenue.
In addition to taking over the possession of the building on Wednesday, the PAC Chairman also ordered for the tax returns and money trail of the owners to be checked.
Furthermore, the committee has asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to reopen the case of land allotment for the building.
In the presence of the PAC chairman, CDA chairman, and board members, the CDA assumed control of One Constitution Avenue. The building will now be administered by the Director Estate (Commercial).
According to documents provided by the CDA, the owners of One Constitution Avenue paid only Rs. 2.916 billion in 2021, which is significantly less than the Rs. 17.50 billion outlined in the re-adjusted plan presented by the PAC and directed by the Supreme Court on 09-01-2019.