Senate body sends Multan Metro Bus, circular debt and BoP cases to NAB


ISLAMABAD: Non-cooperation on the part of government institutions regarding investigation into mega corruption cases, including Multan Metro Bus projects, Punjab Bank fraud case and Rs 480 billion circular debt issue, the Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Friday decided to send the case to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for further investigation.

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, presided over by Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, decided to send the three important cases to NAB as the government agencies, including Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan and others institutions, were not cooperating with the committee.

During the meeting, Mandviawalla opined that since the government institutions were not replying to queries of the committee, the cases should be sent to NAB for investigation. “Instead of probing such cases and reaching a conclusion on our own, we should forward the cases to the relevant agencies for investigations,” he said.

Senator Mohsin Aziz said that the committee cannot wait for years to get a response from the relevant authorities in this matter. Later the committee decided to forward the cases, including the circular debt case, which was to be investigated by NAB per the committee’s decision.

Earlier, the committee had strongly criticised the Ministry of Water and Power for not investigating the issue since it surfaced in 2013. The case revolved around the payment of billions of rupees to independent power producers (IPPs) without audit. The ministry concerned had been making conflicting statements in connection with the case due to which no progress could be made in this connection during initial investigations.

In the previous meeting of the committee, it was decided to send the circular debt issue to NAB. Senate Standing Committee on Finance Secretary Muhammad Tahir Khan informed that the case of circular debt would be sent to NAB shortly, along with the report compiled by the committee.

The committee also showed its serious concerns over concealment of the relevant record of alleged corruption in Multan Metro Bus project. The SECP had shown little commitment to provide any assistance in the case and had refused to provide the relevant documentation to the committee.

The senate body had decided to expand the scope of its investigations into alleged corruption of $17.5 million in the Multan Metro Bus project and transfer of money abroad, as documents revealed a link between a top official of China-based Yabaite Technology Company Limited with the Yabaite Pakistan Construction Group Private Limited.

Yabaite-Pakistan was among the three companies working on the Rs17.6 billion ($167 million) Multan Metro Bus project. The China-based Yabaite Technology was also facing a probe by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) over alleged violation of Chinese securities laws.

The parliamentary panel was also unhappy over the delaying tactics adopted by the SECP and other institutions in connection with a case of alleged manipulation of share prices of Bank of Punjab (BoP) through underwriting.

During a previous meeting, SECP representatives had informed the committee that the commission would submit a detailed report to this body after conducting investigations into the matter. As many as 10,000 individuals and institutions have traded shares since May 2016 to March 2017, the period during which the alleged share manipulation took place, so the commission would take time to investigate the cases in detail. As many as 134 employees of BoP were engaged in the share business of the bank, out of which some earned profit while others faced losses.  There was also a certain group among the employees that did not sell their shares at that time.