Thursday, March 23, 2023

CDA takes control of One Constitution Avenue in Islamabad over default

The Capital Development Authority (CDA), on Wednesday, took control of One Constitution Avenue, a high-rise twin tower building in the federal capital on directives of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), after the building owners failed to pay more than Rs. 14 billion

Acting on PAC’s orders, the Building Control Department of CDA sealed the offices of marketing and sales department of One Constitution Avenue. The department took over all the records of the project and appointed Director Estate Management II as Administrator.

The sealing operation was conducted by CDA in the presence of Chairman Noorul Amin Mengal, Member Estate Afnan Alam, and Public Account Committee Chairman Noor Alam Khan. CDA also confiscated the record of the project. PAC has also directed to freeze bank accounts of the building owners and put their names on the Exit Control List (ECL).

The chairman of the committee, Noor Alam Khan also asked for the tax returns and money trail of the owners to be checked, and for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to reopen the case of land allotment for the building.

During the PAC meeting, the CDA member stated that the lease of One Constitution Avenue was canceled in 2016 for non-payment but was reinstated on the orders of the Supreme Court. However, the lease was again canceled due to non-payment on Tuesday, and an administrator was appointed.

The PAC also summoned the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman and information and broadcasting secretary in response to statements being broadcast against institutions. The PAC chairman expressed concern over such statements being aired and questioned what action had been taken against those making the statements and the channels broadcasting them.

The termination of the land lease was due to the failure of One Constitution Avenue to comply with the payment and guarantee requirements set forth by the Supreme Court and the CDA.  As per the order of the Supreme Court, One Constitution Avenue was liable for an amount of 17.50 billion rupees. While the annual installment of 2.916 billion rupees for the year 2021 was paid, the installment of 2.916 billion rupees for the year 2022 was not paid to the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

Despite several reminders and letters, One Constitution Avenue failed to deposit the required amount by December 31, 2022, as well as renew and enhance their bank guarantee of Rs.2.916 billion.

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