RAWALPINDI: Two retired army generals and a civilian officer of the National Logistics Cell (NLC) were sentenced by an army court for violating NLC rules and regulations that caused financial losses to the organisation, a statement issued by military’s media wing said Wednesday.

In light of findings of the inquiry committee, formed to probe irregularities with regards to the investment made by NLC, two accused retired generals — Maj Gen (retd) Khalid Zahir Akhter and Lt Gen (retd) Muhammad Afzal Muzaffar — were awarded punishments under the Pakistan Army Act for illegally investing Rs4.3billion in the stock market and causing a loss of Rs1.8 billion, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

According to the ruling, Maj Gen (retd) Khalid Zahir was ‘Dismissed from Service’, which implies; forfeiture of rank, decorations, medals, honours, awards, seizure of pension, recovery of personal gains, cancellation of service benefits and all other allied facilities including medical etc.

Lt Gen (retd) Afzal Muzaffar was awarded ‘Severe Displeasure (Recordable)’ which in essence is a disciplinary award due to an offence of a lesser degree i.e. violation of procedures but no personal gains.

However, Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Munir Khan was not found involved in any financial irregularity or serious misconduct and therefore was absolved from all charges.

The ISPR concluded that “Army in line with its traditions has always and will continue to maintain highest standards of accountability, justice and fair-play.”

The Public Accounts Committee, in February 2009, had observed violations in the implementation of board of directors’ instructions and rules and regulations with regards to the NLC investment that allegedly caused financial losses to the organisation.

Consequently, secretary Planning and Development Division constituted an inquiry committee to probe the matter. Upon conclusion of the process, the committee referred the case to the Ministry of Defence for necessary disposal.

But a decision on the referral was pending after some additional documentary evidence was provided by the retired generals, which needed to be scrutinised to establish its veracity.

Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, after taking over command, instructed that proceedings of the case be expedited for the want of justice and transparency, said the ISPR statement.

After months of exhaustive sessions, evaluation of record of investments and interviews of all the witnesses, the inquiry concluded and established that the two retired generals and a civilian officer Saeed ur Rehman were indeed responsible for making incorrect investment decisions in violation of NLC rules and regulations, thereby causing losses to the organisation.

Editorial: NLC scandal

The committee constituted by secretary of the Planning and Development Division initially had not accused any individual for embezzlement or misappropriation; however, it had highlighted financial irregularities, lack of transparency and failure to observe rules and regulations caused by reckless decisions of NLC officials.

By November 2010, army commenced an inquiry that was followed by recording of summary of evidence in September 2011.

On orders of General Raheel Sharif, the case was re-investigated by a committee of high-ranking officers in which the above mentioned officers were proven guilty, said the statement issued by ISPR.

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