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Unexpected shocker from Washington on first day of new PM
 
 
Ansar Abbasi
Saturday, June 23, 2012
From Print Edition
 
 

 

ISLAMABAD: While at home the pliant NAB has “cleared” the newly-elected prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, in the rental power projects (RPPs) scam, the US Department of Justice has initiated an inquiry into the scandal following a request by the Transparency International.

 

John W Borchert, the trial attorney of the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice, has informed the Transparency International Pakistan that they have initiated an inquiry into the bribery allegation involving the Rental Power Plants, two of which are registered in the US.

 

But at home, as was expected from the tamed and tainted NAB under the highly controversial Faseih Bukhari, the PM-elect Raja Pervez Ashraf has been timely found “innocent” in the RPPs scam that has earned him the title of Raja Rental.

 

A top NAB official on condition of anonymity said nothing was found against Raja Pervez Ashraf by the NAB investigators. The source, holding a key position in the highly politicised Bureau, said that Pervez Ashraf had fully cooperated with NAB by joining in the probe.

 

“There is nothing against him. Pervez Ashraf had joined the investigation and nothing came out,” the top NAB official said, adding that the Bureau would present its report to the Supreme Court.

 

With its track record of getting every person who matters in the present ruling lot off the hook either through friendly investigation or faulty prosecution, the NAB was expected to deliver in the RPPs case as per the wishes of political masters.

 

Raja Pervez Ashraf faces a much serious case of corruption in the RPPs scam, which has recently been decided by the Supreme Court itself and found a case of serious corruption.

 

While deciding the RPPs case, the Supreme Court had directed the NAB to proceed against all the government functionaries, including the ministers for water & power holding charge in 2006 and onward and from 2008 to date, during whose tenure the RPPs were approved/set up and minister as well as secretary finance holding the charge when the down payment was increased from 7% to 14%, violating the principle of transparency.

 

The SC had ruled that their involvement in getting financial benefits out of the same by indulging in corruption and corrupt practices cannot be overruled in view of the discussion made hereinabove.

 

Consequently, they are liable to be dealt with under the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 by the NAB. However, the tamed NAB could not find anything wrong with regard to Pervez Ashraf.

 

As against the NAB, the US Department of Justice, in its response to the TIP’s letter dated April 19, 2012 on the issue, has sought additional information relevant to allegations of bribery by rental power plants in Pakistan.

 

In his letter dated 14th June, John W Borchert, the trial attorney, said: “This responds to your letter dated April 19, 2012 (attached), in which you requested that the Department investigate Walters Power and Pakistan Power Resources, two companies registered in the United States, for alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

 

“Your letter enclosed a copy of the Pakistani Supreme Court’s ruling of March 30, 2012, in Human Rights Case Nos. 7734-G/2009, 1003-G/2010, and 56712/2010.

 

“We have reviewed your letter and the court’s ruling carefully. Please submit any additional information relevant to allegations of bribery by rental power plants in Pakistan within the next thirty days.

 

“Thank you for your correspondence, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Sincerely,

 

JOHN W. BORCHERT

 

Trial Attorney”