Pakistan Army Chief orders probe into financial scam

Pak Army Chief has ordered a probe into the huge financial scam in the army run National Logistics Cell.

Islamabad: Pakistan Army chief General Ashaq Parvez Kayani has ordered a probe into the huge financial irregularities in the army run National Logistics Cell (NLC).

The NLC is a subsidiary of the Planning Commission and has been dominated by the army. It is currently headed by a serving major general, with several serving officers working with him.

"A serving corps commander has been nominated to head the inquiry along with two major generals as members," Dawn quoted an official announcement as saying.

Appropriate action would be taken on completion of the court of inquiry according to army rules and regulations, it said.

Established Aug 6, 1978, NLC is today an organisation with business interests, both domestic and international. It is into infrastructure development, provision of freight services, management of border terminals and strategic inland dry ports, manufacturing and engineering excellence, and enhancing energy resources.

The cell oversees mega engineering and construction ventures in Qatar, Afghanistan and other countries of the Middle East and has made a planned expansion of its operations to Central Asian Republics, Turkey and Iran.

Kayani had recently told the NLC to "stop posing" as a defence agency and act as a commercial set-up.

Corruption to the tune of billions of rupees in NLC accounts were revealed in an audit report.

The audit department had reported to parliament`s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that NLC had got Rs.4.3 billion in loans from banks between 2004 and 2008 for investment in volatile bourses and suffered losses to the tune of Rs.1.84 billion.

A committee had found three army generals and a senior civil official responsible for the losses.

Another scam was regarding embezzlement of millions of rupees worth of foreign loan in drought emergency relief assistance project in southern Punjab, the media report said.

The organisation was also hit by a third scam in which two army generals were involved.

Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal and Major General Khalid Zaheer Akhtar, both of whom are now retired, had given a loan of Rs.75 million to a defunct Japanese private power company without any guarantees. The firm never returned the money.