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ISLAMABAD: In a historic move to stop illegal construction in capital, an accountability court, on Friday, sent a man for seven years in prison besides slapping him with Rs 1 billion fine after he was found involved in illegal construction of several floors on the top of a multi-storey shopping mall owned by him.

An Accountability Court-II judge, Muhammad Azam Khan, heard a reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Rana Abdul Qayyum, owner of Safa Gold Mall, a former official of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Ghulam Murtaza Malik, and others.

Malik, who had served in the civic body as deputy director general, was also sentenced to prison for five years.

Other CDA officials who include Amar Idrees, Khalil Ahmed, and Khadim Hussain were also sent to prison after they were found involved in facilitating the shopping mall owner in constructing extra floors on the top of the building, misusing their official position.

The convicts, Ammar Idrees was fined Rs300,000, Khalil Ahmed Rs100,000, Ghulam Murtaza Rs500,000, and Khadim Hussain was slapped with a penalty of Rs100,000. Soon after the court handed down its verdict, all the convicts were arrested from the premises of the court by the police and drove off to the prisons.

The court also declared the last four floors of Safa Gold Mall, illegally built by the shopping mall owner in connivance with the corrupt CDA officials as state property.

The court directed the director of the civic body to fix the rent for the four floors illegally built by the owner.

The reference was filed by the NAB against four CDA officials and the owner of Safa Gold Mall for their involvement in corrupt practices.

Earlier, the main accused in the case, Ghulam Murtaza Malik, had filed an acquittal petition, which had already been rejected by the judge accountability court, Azam Khan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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