Yabeite firm alleged of corruption in Multan Metro project non-functional in Pakistan, clarifies China

  • CPEC projects are transparent as there exists zero tolerance policy for corruption: Lijian Zhao
  • It was alleged that Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif made Rs 3 billion as kickbacks from Multan Metro Bus project
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Reacting to the reports of corruption in Multan Metro bus project, Deputy Chief of Mission at Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, Lijian Zhao claimed on Thursday that the said firm ‘Yabeite’ was not even working in Pakistan.

The Chinese official was moved by a Pakistani Twitterati who raised concerns about presence of fake Chinese construction companies in Pakistan.

Irfan Masood Khan urged Zhao to take action and blacklist such companies, in a bid to discredit multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project.

The Chines diplomat, who is quite active on Twitter responded to Khan that ‘Yabeite’ made some fake letters to cheat the government, adding that it was not even functioning in Pakistan.

In another tweet, the official said CPEC projects are transparent and clean and there is zero tolerance for corruption.

The clarification came in the wake of burgeoning allegations against Punjab’s Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif that he had minted billions from kickbacks from the Chinese company — Jiangsu Yabeite Technology Co. Ltd — in the Multan Metro Bus project.

On the other hand, Punjab’s chief executive took a strong exception to the criticism and offered that he would offer himself to be beheaded if corruption is proved in this regard.

‘Behead me if corruption proven,’ CM Shehbaz reacts to Multan metro graft allegations

“If the ARY [News] and those behind it want a duel, I am not afraid of such challenges but bring plausible and judicially admissible proof to back your allegations. I challenge you to prove your allegations regarding the Multan Metro Bus project within the next 48 hours, if you can. Either put up or shut up!” said Shahbaz on Wednesday.

“It is alleged that Rs3 billion was taken as kickback for the Multan metro bus project,” Shehbaz said while stating that his body “should be taken out of grave and hung on a pole if a corruption claim against him is proven even after his death.”

Multan Metro Bus Project

The Rs28b Multan Metro Bus project was inaugurated by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in January. It includes 21 bus stations spread over an 18.5km route, which facilitate around 97,000 commuters daily.

According to a media report last week, the Sharif family allegedly transferred funds received as kickbacks in the construction of Multan Metro Bus project.

The Chinese Securities and Regulatory Authority (CSRA) has launched an investigation into the funds transferred by the Chinese firm working on the project which showed them as profits gained from the project.

According to CSRA, the firm ‘YaBait’ transferred $10.75 million to China. CSRA then sought details from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

However, former-SECP chief Zafar Hijazi and advisors Muzaffar Mirza and Khalida Habib reportedly refused to share any information with the CSRA and eventually suppressed the matter.

The report further stated that Shehbaz Sharif and PML-N Leader Mushahidullah provided documents to the Chinese firm, which was allotted the contract to construct the Multan Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) by the Capital Engineering and Construction Ltd. But, according to the media report, this firm is not even registered with the SECP and the address provided does not even exist.

The funds were allegedly transferred from Dubai, Mauritius and other locations, the report added.