SHC sees selling off KMC property only way to clear Rs4b dues of retired staff

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The Sindh High Court while hearing the case of Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) payables to the tune of Rs4 billion to its retired employees noted on Wednesday that selling assets to clear dues could be the only way forward. The High Court directed Karachi Administrator to furnish details on 25 properties sold for the purpose to start with and ordered the city authorities to sell off its assets to pay off long-overdue heaps of debts on account of salaries and pensions. With grants from Sindh government, these payments are not possible, the court said, and insisted selling off assets was the only way forward. To which the KMC respondents said the city municipal corporation has some properties along the high-end areas of Karachi and brought to court notice its 250 huts along Hawke’s Bay beach. The court ordered the administrator to furnish its report and thus adjourned the hearing till Dec 22 (next week). Last week, as the SHC came to know about the Karachi Development Authority’s Rs410 million investments in saving schemes, it directed the official assignee to make sure that the KDA’s saving certificates are liquidated and the proceeds are appropriated towards the outstanding pension dues of retired KDA employees. Hearing petitions pertained to the non-payment of outstanding dues to over 1,000 retired KDA employees on Tuesday, the SHC’s division bench, headed by Justice Nadeem Akhtar, took notice over the concealment of facts concerning the investment of Rs250 million and Rs160 million by the KDA in the NIT units and the national saving certificates, respectively. In his application, the counsel of the retired employees requested the court to direct the official assignee to collect the information about the NIT units and the national saving certificates owned by the KDA. The counsel alleged that the KDA had deliberately concealed its major investments/assets from the court to deprive the retired employees of receiving pensions in pursuance of the court orders. It is pertinent to note that last week, the Sindh government removed Iftikhar Shallwani as the administrator and commissioner of Karachi in a major reshuffle at the top municipal posts in the city.