SIALKOT - Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment Director General Sheikh Abid Javaid has directed early arrest of all the officials of the Highway Department and District Accounts Office (DAO) involved in Rs180 million embezzlement case.

The ACE has registered a case against the officials for embezzlement in the construction of a bridge over River Tavi near Saidpur-Bajwat.

The ACE DG visited the site of the bridge which has been lying incomplete for the last seven years. Sialkot DCO Zahid Saleem Gondal and senior journalists were also present on the occasion.

The officials concerned of the provincial highway department briefed the DG that the construction of the bridge had been started in 2005 with a cost of Rs180 million. However, despite spending of Rs300 million, the project is still lying incomplete. Further, they briefed that substandard material had been used in the construction of bridge due to which bridge could be collapsed during the monsoon. 1100-ft long bridge has several ditches in it. The accused contractor Tahir Mehmood Naeem has fled away.

The project was initiated with aim to provide better means of transportation to the people of 85 bordering villages far-off Bajwat-Sialkot. As it was the only bridge to connect these villages with rest of Sialkot region, especially during the rainy and flood season. The ACE had already registered a corruption case against following accused: XENs Malik Muhammad, Mehar Khalid, Hussain Hamadani, Abdul Ghafur and Raja Lehrasab Khan and 3 SDOs - Nawazish Ali Shah, Mubashar Ali Bajwa, Zahid Aman, and three sub-engineers Muhammad Fiaz, Mirza Younas and Muhammad Aslam,

Similarly, two accused District Accounts Officers (DAO) Sabir Ali Sabir, Javaid Iqbal and project contractor Tahir Mehmood Naeem mutually embezzled Rs180 million in the project.