ADB report won’t be ignored: CJP


ISLAMABAD: Heading a three-member Supreme Court bench on Thursday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that the report of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) leveling serious allegations of corruption in the contract to Rental Power Projects (RPPs) would not be ignored while deciding the outcome of case.
The bench, also comprising Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, was hearing a suo motu case along with pleas regarding allegations of corruption in the RPPs contract and the government’s decision to increase electricity tariff, especially when the supply was irregular.
The chief justice observed that consumers were suffering a lot due to the government’s move of purchasing electricity on high rates. “Things are not going right as arbitration is being done in London when sellers and buyers are in Pakistan,” the chief justice remarked.
The court directed Khawaja Tariq Rahim, counsel for the Water and Power Ministry and PEPCO, to prepare a complete synopsis of the RPPs and produce it before the court on the next date of hearing. Rahim was also asked how much money was spent on 19 RPPs. Justice Ramday asked the lawyer to tell how the general consumer could be benefit?
“Was the government intimated that the general public would have to pay a heavy cost due to the Rental Power Plants?” Rahim said RPP rates would not be compared to the rates of Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The lawyer also presented a chart of economic rating of Pakistan from 2007 to date. He said the government had paid Rs 700 million in advance in a contract of Pakistan Power Resources in Guddu.
However, he said the government later abandoned the contract citing technical reasons. He said Rs 700 million would be returned to the government in the next two weeks. To a query, the counsel said Rs 1.23 billion was paid to the Rental Power Plant in Faisalabad. However, it had to be shut down due to fuel shortage. The chief justice noted the Finance Ministry could not be exempted from its responsibility in the RPPs contract.
The court adjourned proceedings until November 29 on the request of PML-Q’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly Faisal Saleh Hayat, who told the court that he was going abroad and would not be available until November 27.