CDA sacks more lawyers
ISLAMABAD, Aug 7: A disclosure to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly on Tuesday that more than 5,000 cases are pending in the courts against the Capital Development Authority (CDA) cost 19 lawyers of CDA their jobs instantly.
“I have fired them. They were hired to fight specific cases but did not perform well,” CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal told Dawn on return from the PAC meeting that reviewed the implementation of the directives it frequently issued to the CDA.
Additional Secretary Shahidullah Baig of the Cabinet Division, which looks after the affairs of CDA, disclosed the burden of litigations on the CDA to the PAC.
An official privy to the meeting said the disclosure stunned the Capital Development Authority chief and led to the sacking of the 19 lawyers.
“I’m much concerned at the poor working of our legal department. I have ordered it to computerise its record within 10 days.
That will help us evaluate the performance of the department,” the CDA chief said later, hoping the Public Accounts Committee would see “a definite, positive change” soon.
But an official close to the development contended that the mess in the legal department was no disclosure.
It had existed for some time and the chairman knew about it but did not act in time to clear it, he claimed.
Lawyers and staff of the CDA legal directorate sometimes connived with litigants and purposely derailed important cases of financial nature to the detriment of Capital Development Authority, he alleged.
“In a few instances, the lower staff of the directorate did not pass on court notices to the concerned CDA division with the result that CDA lost cases by default and earned bad name in the courts,” he added.
Since the Capital Development Authority was not represented by its lawyer to argue its case, judges had to decide cases ex party and in favour of the litigants.
Additional Secretary Baig told PAC meeting, in the presence of CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal, that CDA had been spending Rs3.5 million on lawyers’ fees.
“During 2011-12, the CDA spent around Rs10.60 million,” he said.
It was after such disclosures that the Public Accounts Committee directed the Capital Development Authority to computerise the record of all the cases pending against it in the lower and higher courts.