A recent investigation has uncovered a fraudulent scheme within the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), involving the manipulation of official documents for the issuance of No Objection Certificates (NOCs). This scam, which has led to significant financial losses for the national treasury, was orchestrated by corrupt officials in both the Housing Directorates and Town Planning Wings of the LDA.
The fraud was discovered by Owais Mushtaq, the Additional Director General (Housing) of the LDA, during a routine inspection of certain files. He noticed that NOC reports with unclear wording were being exchanged between the Housing Directorate and the Town Planning Wing, deliberately omitting any mention of outstanding dues on properties.
This deceptive practice not only resulted in financial losses for the LDA due to uncollected property transfer fees but also unfairly burdened property buyers with undisclosed outstanding dues. In response, Owais Mushtaq issued a directive (LDA/ADG(H)/PS/198) on December 6, 2023, to all Housing and Town Planning Directors, emphasizing the need for clear and accurate reports from the Town Planning Wing before NOC issuance. The directive stressed that any non-compliance would lead to strict action against the responsible officers.
Furthermore, the Chief Town Planners were instructed to ensure that all reports clearly state the commercial status of properties and any pending dues. A senior LDA officer from the Housing wing commented that if implemented effectively, this new practice would protect both the authority and property buyers from significant financial losses and inconvenience.
The officer also recommended conducting a random internal audit of NOC cases to uncover similar instances of fraud and, if necessary, a comprehensive audit to assess the overall financial impact on the LDA. He advocated for stringent action against those involved in these deceptive practices.
Owais Mushtaq, in a statement, highlighted that the discovery of this scam demonstrates the vigilance and seriousness of the LDA’s higher management. He assured that strict departmental action would be taken against anyone failing to comply with the new directive.