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December 7, 2018

SC orders NAB to probe Thar Coal project

Top Story

December 7, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate the Thar Coal Gasification Project that caused loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer. Dr Samar Mubarakmand and others will come under investigation.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed hearing into the matter. Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti informed the court that the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has filed its report regarding the forensic audit of Thar Coal Power Plant. He submitted that as per the report, so far Rs4.69 bn has been spent on the Thar Coal project but electricity was yet to be generated. The court directed the NAB that in the light of the AGP report, the project be thoroughly investigated and responsibility be fixed. On the last hearing, the court had directed the AGP to conduct the forensic audit of Thar Coal Power Plant and submit report within 15 days.

The court had also directed chief secretary Sindh to take into possession the whole machinery of the project. The court had also directed for submitting a report pertaining to environmental pollution caused due to the project in the area besides ascertaining the volume of corruption, if done.

On Thursday, during the proceedings, the CJP recalled that Dr Samar Mubarakmand had made tall claims of getting free electricity through the project. However, over Rs4 billion had been wasted but not a single watt of electricity could be produced, he said.

The CJP said that Dr Samar Mubarakmand is responsible for causing loss of billions of rupees to the national kitty but he will have 20 excuses in defence. He questioned who will be held responsible for billions of rupees, spent on the project.

Dr Samar Mubarakmand replied that Rs1 billion was spent on feasibility report of the project adding that as funds were not provided, the project could not be completed. Advocate General Salman Talibuddin submitted that as per the court direction, the provincial government has taken full control of the machinery of the project.

The court directed the federal government and the government of Sindh to deliberate upon options for operationalisation of the project, if possible, in the best interest of the nation. Meanwhile, the court directed NAB to investigate the Thar Coal Gasification Project and disposed of the case.

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