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October 11, 2018

SC disposes of Nandipur project case

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October 11, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday disposed of a petition filed against the delay in construction of Nandipur power project after it was informed that a reference has been filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the matter. A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar disposed of the petition filed by PML-N leader and former minister of water and power Khwaja Asif against delay in commissioning of Nandipur power project.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said that as the anti-graft body had filed a reference and as such, court proceedings should not affect NAB proceedings. Earlier, an accountability court decided to indict former premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Babar Awan in the Nandipur power project corruption reference on October 24. On August 11, the NAB held the previous government of PPP responsible for delaying the Nandipur project, causing a losses of Rs27.3 billion to the national exchequer in 2009.

Imranul Haq, NAB Special Prosecutor, had submitted an interim report in the Supreme Court in the petition of Khwaja Asif. The report stated that due to non-issuance of legal opinion of the Ministry of Law and Justice led by Babar Awan, the Nandipur power project faced the losses amounted to Rs27.3 billion

According to Imrnaul Haq, the NAB Rawalpindi Region had finalised the instant reference which is expected to be filed within 15 days. The NAB had submitted that during the course of investigation, it had been established that the officers and officials of Ministry of Law and Justice failed to exercise their lawful authorities causing loss of Rs27.292.94 million to the national exchequer hence they committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices, as defined under Section 9(a) (v) and (xii) of NAB Ordinance read with Sr Schedule thererto”, the NAB submitted.

The NAB had further told the court that investigation of the subject matter is at advanced stage stating that relevant record from the ministries of law and justice, water and power and finance has been seized while examination of witnesses and accused person is under process.

On March 30, 2009, the Ministry of Water and Power forwarded a signed sinosuree agreement to Ministry of Finance and requested to grant ex-post facto approval. The Ministry of Finance forwarded the case to law ministry for comments but in reply the Ministry of Law informed the finance ministry that under the rules of business 1973, they only vet the final draft agreement from the legal point of view therefore, no ex-post facto approval could be given specifically when the finality of the agreement had been taken place, so the referring ministry might take necessary action. The NAB special prosecutor said that the correspondence with the Ministry of Law lasted for two years that led to increase in amount of the project to Rs27.3 billion. He however, said that later, Attorney General approved and Ministry of Finance rectified approved changes in Sinosure Credit Facility Agreement. Later on in 2011, the Supreme Court on October 26, 2011 constituted a commission and assigned the task to Justice (R) Rehmat Hussain Jaffery to determine the issue after PML-N leader Khwaja Asif filed a petition regarding delay in the Nandipur power project.

According to Imranul Haq two other references will also be filed in Lahore Region one relating to stealing of some 45 tankers of High Sulpher Furnace Oil while the second relates to a project of operation and maintenance which was earlier given Wapda however, it outsourced the project to other company.

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