2 former PIA chiefs, ex-CEO booked for causing loss of Rs1.25b

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Observer Report
Islamabad

The Federal Investigation Agency on Monday registered a case against two former chairmen of Pakistan International Airlines, a former acting CEO, and arrested a former director of the national airline on charges of causing losses of over Rs1 billion to the exchequer.

FIA Sindh Director Amir Farooqi told media the investigative body had registered a case against PIA ex-chairmen Nasser Jaffer and Irfan Elahi and former acting CEO Bernd Hildenbrand and also detained former director engineering Maqsood Ahmed.

“They caused loss of Rs1.25bn and made advance payments for upgradation of business class seats and entertainment system in years 2014-16,” the official said.

“The seats were never replaced and the system never installed.” The FIA initiated an inquiry into PIA’s state of affairs under the directions of the Supreme Court, which had ordered a special audit of the airline in 2018.

The documents pointed out that the PIA Board of Directors in its 351st meeting in 2013 had approved upgrading business class seats and inflight entertainment system, changing cabin ambiance including carpets, seats, covers, curtains, side trim, toilets, gallery, business class utility pack/gift items, etc.

According to the documents, the then PIA chairman, Nasser Jaffer, approved a firm – Sogema – for changing seats of the entire fleet of Boeing 777 “dishonestly and illegally with ill motives by abusing his official position”.

The national carrier’s Board of Customer Services Committee did not recommend the firm, Sogema, and it was also not the lowest bidder, the documents revealed.