ISLAMABAD: Demanding heavy kickbacks by the Employees Old Age Benefit Institution ( EOBI ) finance highups, from building contractors, has hampered the completion of mega projects costing billions of rupees. Well placed sources told Daily Times that PRIMA CO, a subsidiary of the EOBI, under the directives of the former chairman, Zafar Gondal, had invested billions of rupees on the construction of different projects including Serena Hotel Lahore, commercial complex I-8 Islamabad, Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC) tower, EOBI plaza Hassan Abdal, and EOBI tower G-6/3 Islamabad. The contracts for the construction of towers for offices, plazas and shopping centres were awarded to construction firms in return for heavy kickbacks. Sources said the high ups of the EOBI Finance division Head Office Karachi, suspended payments to the construction firms, following the arrest of Zafar Gondal, former chairman EOBI, and demanded heavy kickbacks. The payment of such a whopping amount cannot be practicable for the firms as they have already greased the palms of the former management. Sources told Daily Times that different buildings, on the construction of which Rs 10 billion had been spent so far, were standing incomplete as neither the EOBI was making payments to the construction firms nor had the construction companies restarted work on completing of these projects. Sources said this matter stood suspended for the last one and a half year. The funds allocated for these projects were still lying in the accounts of the EOBI. The construction firms, while holding the EOBI responsible for the increase in the cost of construction of these projects have demanded an extra Rs 6 billion which will have to be paid by the EOBI at every cost. The representatives of these construction companies told Daily Times on the condition of anonymity that PRIMA CO was an autonomous body and yet the EOBI head office in Karachi releases funds for making all payments to the construction firms. “We have to pay heavy kickbacks in this regard”, they stated. “Later this amount is transferred to PRIMA CO accounts and we are disgraced as a heavy bribe is being demanded. Therefore, the projects are lying incomplete”, they added. They also told Daily Times that the former director, Kamran Fazal of PRIMA CO, collected the bribe and sent it to the high ups including the DG Investment in Karachi. Later the NAB registered cases against them and arrested them. The funds are not being released for the last one and half year for the very reason that the construction companies cannot pay the heavy kickbacks demanded by the EOBI and PRIMA CO. Sources said it was told during the meeting between the Chairman EOBI, Saleh Ahmad Farooqi and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. that if extraordinary decisions were not made immediately with reference to the EOBI then the EOBI funds would start dwindling by 2021 and the EOBI would go bankrupt in 2027 and would stand closed. Messrs Umar Murshid Audit Firm said in its report that if the extravagant use of funds was not stopped and the ongoing policies were not changed then the assets of this institution would continue to be put on sale and the existing funds would be spent on the payment of salaries and pension and the funds and assets of the EOBI would start falling enormously after six years and in the next six years the institution would be fully bankrupt. When contacted, the Director EOBI, Zulfiqar Ali Griwal, told Daily Times that some projects were in the phase of completion and on certain projects work stood suspended. “In this regard our subsidiary PRIMA CO is working directly”, he remarked. He also said that as the chairman EOBI was outside the country, he could not give any statement to media. “We have been stopped by the department from talking to the media,” he added.