ISLAMABAD: Accountability Judge Arshad Malik on Monday indicted former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Babar Awan- who resigned as PM Khan’s adviser on parliamentary affairs after the reference was filed– and five others in the Nandipur power project scam.
The decade-old mega scam also features some of the bureaucratic heavyweights, including former law secretaries Riaz Kiyani and Masood Chishti, consultant Shamila Mahmood, joint secretary Riaz Mehmood and secretary water and power Shahid Rafi.
The Supreme Court had earlier decided constitutional petition No 67 of 2011 – which pertained to delays in the Nandipur project – and formed a commission under Justice (r) Rehmat Hussain Jafri to ascertain reasons for the persistent delay. The report submitted on April 9, 2012 held the accused responsible and the SC then referred the matter to NAB.
The case, filed by NAB, alleged that accused parties in the scam caused an estimated loss of Rs 27 billion to the national exchequer through a deliberate delay of two years, one month and 15 days in the project. However, all of the accused pleaded not guilty.
The project was approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on December 27, 2007, at a cost of $329 million.
On January 28, 2008, the contract was signed between the Northern Power Generation Company Limited (NPGCL) and the Dong Feng Electric Corporation (DEC), China and consortia– COFACE for 68.967 million euros and SINOSURE for $150.151 million – were set up for financing the project.
The Water and Power Ministry had sought legal opinion on the project from the Law Ministry in accordance with the schedule of the agreement in July 2009, but the accused repeatedly refused to do so.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Water and Power also failed to take concrete steps to resolve the issue, and the matter remained pending.
According to details shared by the NAB, after Awan was replaced as the law minister, a legal opinion was issued in November 2011 – after over two years. This inordinate and mala fide delay caused the previously mentioned loss of Rs27 billion to the national exchequer.
During the course of the investigation, it was established that the accused committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practice, as defined in u/s 9 (a) (vi) and (xii) read with Sr.5 of Schedule Offences of NAO, 1999.
The accountability court conveyed its decision to commence a trial and issued summons to witnesses for 19th of March.