KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) Monday registered another corruption case against the officials of Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIAC), who have misused their power which led to the financial loss of $1.65 million to the national carrier.

The Corporate Crime Circle (CCC) of the FIA arrested Maqsood Ahmed, former Director Engineering after getting concrete evidence against him and others. FIA also nominated Nasser NS Jaffer, ex-PIA chairman, Irfan Elahi, ex-PIA chairman, ex-PIA CEO Bernd Hildenbrand, and others who misused their position to cause huge loss to the public.

According to the FIR, a special audit of PIA was conducted in 2018 which disclosed corruption in the PIA management in the projects of up-gradation of business class seats, in-flight entertainment system, and integration of both. This resulted in a loss of $1.65 million without delivery of any contracted material or services.

The FIR said that the matter was placed before the Board of Directors of the PIA in April 2015. The board approved replacing business class seats on the entire fleet of Boeing 777 with seats manufactured by M/s Sogerma. It further said that “the amount available with the Airbus Industry as credit note be ascertained and may be utilised for flatbed seats project’. The responsibility was assigned to deceased Imran Akhtar, the then director of procurement and accused Maqsood Ahmed, ex-director of engineering.

However, the board of Customer Services Committee did not recommend M/s Sogerma and they were not also the lowest bidder. As per the comparative statement, the lowest bidder was M/s Avio ($1,664,024) whereas M/s Sogerma made a bid of $3,416,000, the FIR said.  Accused Nasser NS Jaffer, then chairman of the PIA approved it.

The author is a senior business reporter with bylines in leading newspapers and magazines across Pakistan.

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