LDA Officials Allegedly Involved in Illegal Construction Face Action

The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) has summoned another Director and his team from the Town Planning wing of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) over allegations of involvement in illegal constructions, a local national daily has claimed.

According to LDA officials, ACE called in former Director Ali Abbas, currently serving as Director of Zone 1, along with Deputy Director Umar Majeed and Assistant Director Ghafran on May 19, 2023. However, none of the officers appeared before ACE.

The inquiry against these officers was initiated by ACE based on a complaint filed by Malik Akbar Ali, a resident of Township, on December 7, 2022. The complainant alleged that the Town Planning wing of LDA had become akin to a Sicilian mafia, and despite repeated reports of corruption, no action was taken against any officials.

The complainant further claimed that assistant directors and deputy directors involved in corruption were even promoted, citing the example of Ali Abbas being promoted to the post of Director despite corruption allegations against him.

The complainant highlighted the establishment of a private industrial area on Hadyara Drain Road, which fell under LDA’s jurisdiction as agricultural land measuring 25 to 30 murabbas (equivalent to 625 to 750 acres).

According to the complaint, no land conversion fee or map approval fee, amounting to approximately Rs. 2 to 3 billion, was deposited in the national exchequer, resulting in a significant financial loss for LDA.

Furthermore, the complainant alleged that numerous illegal plazas, godowns, workshops, and commercial markets were constructed in the area with the connivance of LDA officers.

The complainant urged ACE to investigate the matter and take necessary action against Director Ali Abbas, Deputy Director Umar Majeed, and Assistant Director, including termination of their employment and recovery of losses incurred by the national exchequer.

LDA sources claimed that both Zone 7 and Zone 1 were rampant with illegal commercialization and buildings, with ongoing construction of illegal structures in both areas.

They also mentioned that ACE had requested various data from LDA’s Chief Town Planner (CTP) regarding different zones.

Deputy Director ACE, Hassan Raza, confirmed that the LDA officers failed to appear on the specified date and a new notice has been served to them.

He emphasized that ACE has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption and will take action against corrupt government officers without discrimination.

Efforts to reach Director Ali Abbas for his response were unsuccessful, as he did not answer the call or respond to the text message seeking his official version of the allegations.

In response to inquiries, the spokesperson of LDA stated that LDA DG Muhammad Ali Randhawa has already issued clear instructions to handle all queries and inquiries from the Anti-Corruption Establishment with fairness and ensure compliance within the given time limit.

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