Thursday Apr 19 2018

NAB widens probe into corruption allegations against Saad Rafique

Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique/File photo

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to widen its probe into corruption allegations against Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique.

Rafique, who is already facing an investigation by the anti-graft body pertaining to a housing scam, has been accused of misusing his authority to overspend national resources while working in the railways.

According to a statement issued by NAB, the railways minister is suspected of having leased out expensive railways land in violation of the regulations. He also allegedly misused government funds in buying machinery.

On Wednesday, a top NAB official had said that the property dealings of Khawaja Saad Rafique were found to be ‘suspicious’. Denying Rafique's allegations that NAB investigators were responsible for leaking his property documents, NAB Lahore Director General Shahzad Saleem had said the bureau was operating with complete honesty and that Rafique’s case would be “decided on merit."

Last week, the Supreme Court ordered a complete audit of Pakistan Railways during a suo motu hearing of alleged Rs60 billion corruption in the institution.

NAB is also investigating the Ashiana Housing scam, in which millions of rupees were allegedly transferred into the account of Paragon Housing Society, which is said to have been owned by Saad Rafique and his brother, Punjab minister Khawaja Salman Rafique.

'Character-assassination campaign against me'

Rejecting the corruption allegations, Khawaja Saad Rafique dismissed the accusations as part of an "ugly character-assassination campaign" against him.

In a post on Twitter, the railways minister lamented that first the authorities tried to link him to the Ashiana housing scam, then they made him the owner of a housing scheme. 

Rafique further said that he and his brother have documented the 40-canal land in their asset details.

He warned those "leveling false allegations" against him to be afraid of God's wrath. 

He further lamented that he worked sincerely all his life, abiding by the rules and in the wider interests of Pakistan Railways, yet he is being punished for it. 

Those investigating the allegations against me should tell the public who is actually levelling those allegations, he raged.

Commenting on Imran Khan's invitation to Chaudhry Nisar to join the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Rafique said the former interior minister is not one to fall into the trap of a fraudster like Imran Khan.