NAB summons ex-PM Abbasi to appear in LNG scam probe again


ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) office in Rawalpindi has summoned former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on April 2 in connection with the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) scandal.

In a call-up notice, ex-PM Abbasi has once again been requested to appear along with a copy of a questionnaire consisting of 75 questions regarding LNG import from Qatar and LNG terminal -1 to ETPL which was handed over to you on 19-02-2019.

“You are advised that failure to comply with this notice may entail penal consequences as provided in Serial 2 of the Schedule of NAO,” said the notice sent to the former PM.

According to sources, the anti-graft watchdog has summoned Abbasi in an ongoing probe pertaining to the LNG contract case. He was directed to bring the LNG agreement with him for his appearance.

Sources further said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader was asked who approved the conditions of the agreement and why the contract was needed in the first place.

The case was registered on the complaint of Shahid Sattar, an energy expert and former member of the Planning Commission and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) board of directors, along with others, accusing Abbasi of misusing his authority and causing a loss of $2bn to the national exchequer in 15 years.

The anti-corruption watchdog has directed the former PM to submit all documents as a part of his asset details as the minister for petroleum and natural resources.

Earlier in January, former finance minister Miftah Ismail was interrogated by NAB in the same case.

It is pertinent to mention here that the inquiry against Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had been approved by NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal for allegedly awarding a 15-year contract for an LNG terminal against the rules when Abbasi was the petroleum minister in Nawaz’s cabinet.

In December 2016, NAB had wrapped up an inquiry conducted for 17 months against Abbasi for his alleged role in awarding an Rs220 billion contract for the import and distribution of LNG in 2013.

The inquiry was stopped despite the fact that it had been proved that the contract had been awarded in a ‘non-transparent manner’. Earlier, former finance minister Muftah Ismail has recorded his statement before the NAB.

On September 10, 2018, the Supreme Court directed NAB to complete inquiry against former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and others for alleged corruption in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) contract with Qatar and submitted a report on it.

On 25 October 2018, the NAB reopened the LNG scandal against Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The NAB has decided to summon the former premier for investigation. However, the NAB sought all records from the concerned ministries.

Furthermore, it is alleged that the contract for the LNG import and distribution was awarded to the Elengy Terminal, a subsidiary of Engro, in 2013 in violation of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules and relevant laws.