|Rental power projects: NAB to continue probe, despite new PM|
23 June 2012
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has made clear that it will continue an “impartial” inquiry against all 14 accused in the Rental Power Projects (RPPs) case, including newly elected Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf – and also said the new premier could be summoned if deemed necessary in the case.
Investigators are irked over a lack of cooperation from the interior ministry, which failed to put names of the accused on the Exit Control List (ECL), including that of the newly elected prime minister, an official of the bureau told The Express Tribune on Friday.
“Despite a reminder, the interior ministry did not place their names on the ECL,” said NAB spokesperson Zafar Iqbal Khan. “We have made it clear if inquiries are affected due to this reason, then the concerned ministry will be responsible for it.”
The last reminder was sent to the interior ministry earlier this month. Zafar said the investigation team, headed by the director general operations, is examining the statements of all the accused, including then water and power minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
The NAB team recorded Ashraf’s statement in April, when he held the office of minister of information technology, and quizzed him for three hours.
“Investigators can summon all accused, including Ashraf if they find it necessary for the RPPs case to proceed smoothly,” the spokesperson said.
Following the Supreme Court’s (SC) directives, NAB has recovered Rs2.25 billion from approximately nine power companies so far.
The bureau began its investigation after the SC cancelled RPPs and requested the concerned ministry to put the names of some 19 accused on an Exit Control List, including Prime Minister Ashraf, two former federal ministers, Liaquat Jatoi and Shaukat Tareen and former Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) chairman Tariq Hameed.
“All government functionaries, including the ministers for water & power holding charge in 2006 and onward and from 2008 onward…violated the principle of transparency under Articles 9 & 24 of the Constitution and section 7 of the Act, 1997. Therefore, their involvement in financial benefits by indulging in corruption and corrupt practices cannot be overruled in view of the discussion made herein. Consequently, they are liable to be dealt with under the NAB Ordinance, 1999,” states the SC order on RPPs.
Former cabinet member Faisal Saleh Hayat had requested the SC to probe corruption in RPPs, implicating the former water and power minister Ashraf. Hayat, on television, also alleged that a major chunk of kickbacks in RPPs went to President Asif Ali Zardari.
The names of former federal secretaries of water and power and finance including Salman Siddique, Shahid Rafi, Ashfaq Mehmood, Saeed Zafar, and Ismail Qureshi were also to be included on the ECL. Meanwhile, the six Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) chiefs Anwar Khalid, Munawar Baseer, Tahir Basharat, Khalid Irfan, Fazal Khan, Saleem Arif have also been included on the list.
Four names of concerned officials from Nepra, Gencos and PPIB have also been included in the list.
NAB is currently working on a second list of names of owners, chief executives and agents of the 12 rental power companies.
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