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Minister wants Grand Hyatt apartment buyers’ dues settled

Minister wants Grand Hyatt apartment buyers’ dues settled

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to approach the buyers of apartments in the Grand Hyatt Hotel project so as to evolve a mechanism for the speedy settlement of their investment dues.

The minister also directed the additional secretary of the interior ministry to look into various options for the alternative use of the high-rise building and come up with proposals for the consideration of the prime minister.

The CDA handed over a 13.45 acre plot adjacent to the Convention Centre to M/S BNP on a 99-year-lease through an auction on March 9, 2005. The builder was supposed to construct service apartments along with the five-star hotel on the plot. However, the CDA said the company violated the lease agreement.

The under-construction building was sealed by the civic agency in July last year after cancelling the allotment of the plot.

According to the CDA, the builder had made gross violations in the lease agreement.

An IHC single-member bench, comprising Justice Athar Minallah, on March 3, 2017, dismissed an appeal filed by the BNP against the lease cancellation.

Presiding over a meeting on Friday, the interior minister also directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the office of the advocate general to approach the IHC for vacating the stay of an inquiry against the builder and CDA officials in the case.

The FIA was probing into allegations of corruption in the project on the directions of the minister when the BNP obtained the stay order last year.

The inquiry was aimed at bringing all those CDA officials to justice who allegedly connived with the builder in the lease deed and, subsequently, the CDA Board in 2012 rescheduled the payments of the land cost.

According to a spokesperson for the interior ministry, it had emerged during the course of the FIA investigations that a loss of over Rs33 billion was caused to the national kitty in leasing, construction and sale of apartments in the Grand Hyatt project.

The FIA had also pointed out that the land was leased for 99 years on a much lower rate compared to the actual market rate at that time. The CDA leased the plot when Kamran Lashari was its chairman.

A statement issued by the interior ministry said it had also surfaced during the inquiry that the scope of work was allegedly changed illegally in connivance with CDA officials which resulted in the construction of residential apartments which the company later sold out instead of building service apartments along the five-star hotel.

Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2017

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