Pakistan news January 12, 2009

'It's an exaggerated revised figure' - Naghmi

Cricinfo staff
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Former chief operating officer of the PCB, Shafqat Naghmi has hit back at claims of financial irregularities by the PCB, claiming that the renovation work at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium may still be completed for Rs 184 million (around $2.3 million). Naghmi said that the figure had not spiralled to Rs 471 million as the present board had earlier claimed.

The PCB stopped work on the project at the stadium - which is also the cricket board's headquarters - on Friday after they discovered "massive irregularities" in the construction of the far end pavilion. Further, the architect behind the project was also believed to be a "buddy" of Naghmi's.

"It's true that the initial cost was Rs 142 million, but it was revised to Rs 184 million and not at what the PCB is now claiming," Naghmi told AP. "It's an exaggerated revised figure and I have no idea from where this has come."

The present PCB regime had termed the project as a "monumental disaster" and "fraudulent tender", with chairman Ijaz Butt placing the blame fully on the men they replaced last August in a strongly-worded, no-holds barred statement.

According to the PCB statement, the project had to be stopped after the cost more than tripled to Rs 471 million from an initial Rs 142 million.

However, Naghmi said the PCB had paid the contractor Rs 142 million and now only Rs 42 million remained to be paid to complete the project. "I talked to the contractor today and even he is willing to complete the project, but I don't know why the PCB has stopped the renovation work," he said.