NAB terms news item on Nepra power tariff baseless

September 22, 2019

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau on Saturday clarified that a news item published in a section of the press about Bureau's questions on power tariff of National Electric Power Regulatory...

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ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Saturday clarified that a news item published in a section of the press about Bureau's questions on power tariff of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) was absolutely baseless, concocted and bundle of lies. A NAB spokesman stated that its Lahore bureau was conducting only one inquiry on the issue of alleged illegal and fraudulent payments made by Nepra officials to MS Nishat Chunian Pvt. Ltd in violation of the power purchase agreement.

The said inquiry was dealing with only allegations of fraud, illegal and the Nishat Chunian was paid excessive amount in violation of agreement inked between the government and the company.

These allegedly fraudulent payments were made on the basis of false, deceptive and misleading information provided by the company at the time of determination of tariff. The inquiry did not challenge any provision of the agreement between the government and the company; rather it focuses only upon the alleged violations of the agreement made through cheating and fraud.

Thus NAB has not indulged itself in the policy matters of the government or action done by Nepra officials regarding executing the agreement with the said company.

The accused persons were trying to screen off their alleged criminal offences by giving/creating a false impression as if NAB was challenging the agreements executed by Nepra.

As narrated above, the NAB inquiry was only focusing on the violations of agreement by the company and the role of some Nepra officials in allowing the company in receiving illegal payments. It was astonishing to note that during 2012-2013, Nepra itself wrote two letters to MS Nishat Chunian Pvt Ltd clearly mentioning that the said company had received illegal payments on the basis of false and deceptive information.

This proves beyond any doubt that Nepra believed that a criminal offence had been committed resulting in unimaginable financial loss to state exchequer for 25 years of agreement period on account of fraudulent payments to said company. As per power purchase agreements the company was allowed to charge only 15 percent return on equity in electricity tariff, however the company charged ROE at the rate of 30 to 70 percent from 2010 to 2018 and obtained allegedly illegal payments from govt totalling Rs10 billion.

If illegal payments continue till 2035 (25 year agreement) the loss would be almost Rs30 billion. It was also important to note that this loss had been calculated in consultation with Nepra and reports of Nepra verify these illegal payments to IPPs duly signed by Nepra officials. Thus it was not only the NAB which had reached at the conclusion but the Nepra reports were also authenticated NAB’s inquiry.

In addition, NAB had also engaged services of reputed Chartard Accountant firm which has submitted a comprehensive report endorsing NAB’s inquiry.

Thus the impression being given by a private media house without having official point of view of NAB that Nepra officials were afraid of NAB which was totally false, wrong, baseless and concocted. No policy matter or act in good faith was under inquiry rather NAB was inquiring the same matter which was agitated by Nepra in 2012-13 and was later hushed up for unknown reasons.

NAB had once again requested the said media group to kindly have official point of view of NAB before publishing any news which was our legal right. NAB had great regard for Nepra official but there was no compromise on the question of corruption and corrupt practices as this was our national duty which we were performing under the leadership of Justice Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB by adopting Accountability for All policy with the realisation of corruption free Pakistan.

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