ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday filed a reference with an accountability court against Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for causing a delay in the Nandipur Power Project.
Babar Awan was the law minister in the PPP-led government of ex-prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. He was declared responsible for causing a delay in the project, dealing a loss of over Rs27 billion to the national exchequer. Pervez Ashraf, the then minister for water and power, was accused in the case.
The other accused in the reference are ex-law secretary Muhammad Masood Chishti, former secretary Ministry of Law and Justice Riaz Kayani, former research consultant Ministry of Law & Justice Sharmila Mahmood, former senior joint secretary Ministry of Law & Justice Dr. Riaz Mahmood, former secretary Ministry of Water and Power Shahid Rafi.
The Supreme Court had decided CP No.67/2011 concerning the delay in the project and appointed a one-man commission, consisting of Justice (retd) Rehmat Hussain Jafferi, to fix responsibility for the delay.
The commission conducted the inquiry by examining the record as well as witnesses and submitted its report on April 9, 2012. As per the judicial commission’s report, the officers of the Ministry of Law and Justice were responsible for the delay.
The Ministry of Water and Power referred the matter to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the light of the Judicial Commission’s report.
The Nandipur power project was approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on December 27, 2007 at the cost of $329 million. After approval, the contract was signed between the Northern Power Generation Company Limited (NPGCL) and Dong Fang Electric Corporation (DEC) of China on January 28, 2008.
Two consortiums — COFACE for Euro 68.967 million and SINOSURE for US$150.151 million — were established for funding the project. According to sources, the NAB Rawalpindi investigation team questioned him for three hours about his alleged role in delaying the project causing billions of rupees loss to the national exchequer.
Hours after the NAB filed a corruption reference with the accountability court, Babar Awan tendered his resignation. Sources said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked him to resign. Special Assistant to Prime Minister Iftikhar Durrani confirmed the acceptance of his resignation and said that the prime minister has appreciated his resignation. Imran Khan further opined that Babar Awan will face his inquiry and later if he proved innocent, can join his previous position. He said the premier also appreciated his services to the party.
"I resign from the post of adviser to PM on parliamentary affairs, so that I may disprove allegations leveled [against me] in the NAB reference," reads a copy of Awan's resignation letter.He said being a legal practitioner, he did not find it appropriate to keep the post while facing an inquiry.
"Just reached the PM House to tender my resignation from the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs," Awan wrote in a tweet. "Rule of Law begins with me. Thank you, Insafians for standing by me always. I will never let you down."