Four Pak Army officers saked for kickbacks in arms inspection
From Rezaul H Laskar
Islamabad, Dec 2 (PTI) A colonel and three majors of the Pakistan Army have been sacked for accepting kickbacks while inspecting arms purchased by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in 2010, according to a media report today.
The officers dismissed from service in September allegedly accepted Rs 11 million from a contractor to give a clean bill to weapons, ammunition, bulletproof jackets and helmets bought for the provincial police department.
The development became public when Col Iftikhar Ahmed Malik and Majors Awais Chaudhry, Tabassum Daud and Khurram Sheikh approached the court, the Dawn reported.
The officers were posted at the Inspectorate of Armament in Rawalpindi in 2010, when they were asked to inspect weapons and other equipment sent by the provincial police department.
Due to the scandal, Inspector General of Police Malik Naveed too was removed. He was later released by a National Accountability Bureau court in October last year.
According to Awami National Party lawmaker Haji Mohammed Adeel, the total cost of the weapons was around Rs 7 billion.
Armoured personnel carriers, vehicles and motorcycles for the police were part of the purchases.
"The contract for the supply of these weapons was awarded to a general order supplier who was earlier supplying stationery to government offices," Adeel said. He alleged that senior bureaucrats were behind the deal.
The ANP rules Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and is a partner in the coalition at the centre.
Adeel said Safwat Ghayur, the commandant of the Frontier Corps who was killed in a suicide attack, had already rejected the weapons because of poor quality but the contractors managed to get clearance from the army inspectorate.
According to court documents, the officers received letters in December 2010 from the director general of ITD, General Headquarters, that asked for a response from the chief inspector about alleged malpractices committed while testing the weapons.
Initially, Brig Saleemuz Zaman, the chief inspector, refuted the charges last year.
On February 24 last year, Major Daud was summoned by the director general of personnel directorate and then handed over to the special investigation branch.
After some time, Col Malik was questioned about the weapons as well as a different issue involving the purchase of helicopters by the army.
In October last year, the army blacklisted two suppliers of helicopters.
According to petitions filed by the sacked army officers, they were pressured by officials to accept charges of accepting kickbacks for clearing the ammunition and weapons for the police.
However, they claim that they denied the charges and were handed over to the SIB.
The officers were released in March last year and resumed their duties. But in September this year, they were dismissed from service.
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