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September 19, 2018

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Nandipur project case: Pervaiz Ashraf, Babar Awan ordered to submit surety bond of Rs0.2m

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Tuesday directed the former prime minister,Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Babar Awan to submit a surety bond of Rs0.2 million each in the Nandipur power project case.

During the hearing, in which both defendants were present, the court approved Pervaiz Ashraf and Babar Awan's bail and directed them to submit surety bonds, the Geo News reported. The hearing was later adjourned till October 2.

Speaking to media after the hearing, Pervaiz Ashraf said: “I am surprised to find my name linked to this case. The case against me is baseless." Further, the former prime minister said: "I found the details of the case after reading the case report by the Supreme Court Judge Rehmat Hussain Jaffery. Our lawyers will take up the case in the Supreme Court.”

The reference was filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) over alleged delay in the project inflicting Rs27 billion loss to national exchequer. The Nandipur power project was approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on December 27, 2007, at a cost $329 million.

Its contract was signed on January 28, 2008, between the Northern Power Generation Company Limited (NPGCL) and Dong Fang Electric Corporation of China and two consortiums COFACE for 68.967 million euros and SINOSURE for $150.151m were established for financing the project.

The case was initiated after the Supreme Court restored the 2011 petition filed by the former defence minister Khawaja Asif regarding corruption in the Nandipur project. The court issued notices to the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco). The NAB report stated that a ground check of the project was conducted by the combined investigation teams of the anti-graft body and relevant records were taken into possession from the ministries of law, water and power and finance.

During the course of investigation, the NAB said, it came to record that the officers and officials of the ministry of law failed to exercise their lawful authority by not giving legal opinion, causing loss to the national exchequer, hence they committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices under Section 9(a)(v) and (xii) of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO). In its 94-page report, the commission said the national exchequer suffered a colossal loss of Rs113 billion due to the negligence of the then law minister for causing delay in giving necessary approval and completing documents for the execution of 950MW projects of Nandipur and Chichon-Ki-Malian. There was also negligence on the part of executive authorities of the Law Ministry, which caused the delay in completion of the projects, the report added. The Law Ministry did not clear the issuance of sovereign guarantees of the Finance Ministry to the contractor, resulting in termination of work.

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