FIA arrests former PIA official in mega corruption case

KARACHI: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested a former officer of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for his involvement in the mega corruption case.

According to a spokesman for the Agency, the Corporate Crime Circle Karachi apprehended former Director Engineering PIA Maqsood Ahmed and registered a First Information Report against him.

The investigative body had registered a case against PIA ex-chairmen Nasser Jaffer and Irfan Elahi and former acting CEO Bernd Hildenbrand and also detained former director engineering Maqsood Ahmed.

The spokesman said they caused loss of Rs1.25bn and made advance payments for up-gradation of business class seats and entertainment system in years 2014-16, adding that the seats were never replaced and the system never installed.”

The case has been registered under sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 109 (punishment for abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and section 5 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947.

Earlier, Supreme Court had ordered a Special Audit of PIA which led to Audit Para No. 12.1.3 pertaining to corruption and corrupt practices by PIA management in the practice of up-graduation of business class seats, In-flight Entertainment Service and integration of both resulting in pecuniary loss of Euro 5.3 million and the US $ 1.65 million without delivery of any contracted material or services, causing loss to the public exchequer.

Consequently, an inquiry was initiated by FIA Corporate Crime Circle. The inquiry revealed that the then chairmen of PIA Nasser N.S Jaffer, Irfan Elahi, the then acting Chief Executive Officer of PIA Bernd Hildenbrand, former Director Engineering Maqsood Ahmed and others by abusing their official position caused huge loss to public exchequer without a supply of any contracted goods or services from any company with their ulterior motives for their wrongful gains.

Hence a case was registered against the said accused under the relevant laws.

Earlier, FIA had arrested the former managing director of Pakistan International Airlines PIA Ijaz Haroon in the illegal appointment case. FIA Corporate Crime Circle Karachi has arrested the former director of PIA human resource department Hanif Pathan. They are accused of appointed Salim Sayani as deputy managing director (DMD) in 2009 in violation of regulations.

According to FIA officials, Salim Sayani, a Pakistani-origin USA national, had been appointed on a salary of $20,000 per month besides other perks and privileges including medical coverage, a 5-star hotel room for three months and family accommodation in Dubai on the expenses of the national airline.

Sayani had been granted a seven percent salary increment every year besides the provision of insurance coverage up to $1 million in case of kidnapping for ransom, death or injury and a three-month gross salary on the maturity of contract for each completed year of service.

The arrests were made after an inquiry found serious violations of regulations for the appointment without any advertisement or following the recruitment process candidates or acquiring services of any consultancy firm,

In 2018, the FIA had launched an inquiry against Haroon for allegedly committing massive corruption, being involved in money laundering and accumulating assets beyond known sources of income abroad.

Ejaz Haroon had stepped down from the post of MD of PIA in 2011 after the national carrier’s employees had protested against his appointment.