Pakistan

PESHAWAR – The Peshawar High Court (PHC) ordered on Thursday the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to launch investigations into the Peshawar Sustainable Bus Rapid Transit Corridor (BRT) Project.

A division bench of PHC, comprising high court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth and Justice Mussarat Hilali, has directed NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to probe the alleged irregularities in the what is termed as the first major transit project in the city.

In its order, the judges said they feel it is “appropriate to refer the matter to the NAB authorities” to conduct a proper investigation.

The order stated that only 50% of the work has been completed as yet but the project was supposed to be completed by June 24.

The deadline for completion of the BRT project was repeatedly extended. The first deadline was April 20, which was extended by a month to May 20.

Initially, Rs49.3 billion was approved for the project, but the cost was later revised to Rs67.9 billion due to several delays in the project.

The court said it had been informed that the project’s contract was awarded to a firm that had been black-listed in other provinces in the same kind of work.

“The amount has been allocated for this project without considering the fact that other projects were also necessary and important for public purposes,” read the order.

The delays in the project, as well as other issues relating to the Peshawar BRT, were deemed “shady and shaky” by the court.

The court told NAB to investigate the matter and submit a report before the next hearing, which is scheduled for September 5.

Earlier this month, NAB KP asked the Peshawar Development Authority to submit the record of the mega-project, after anti-graf buster’s Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal ordered an inquiry into alleged corruption and delay in completion of the BRT project.