ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Tuesday directed former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader, Dr Babar Awan, to submit a surety bond of Rs0.2 million in the Nandipur Power Project case.
During a short hearing, in which both defendants were present, the court approved Ashraf and Awan’s bail and directed them to submit a surety bond. The hearing was then adjourned till October 2.
Speaking to media after the hearing, 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 came to know about the facts of the case after reading the case report by SC Judge Rehmat Hussain Jaffery. Our lawyers will take the case up in Supreme Court.”
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 former defence minister Khawaja Asif regarding corruption in the Nandipur project. The court had issued notices to the Water and Power Development Authority and the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco).
A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) report stated that a ground check of the project had been conducted by the combined investigation teams of the anti-graft body and relevant records taken into possession from the ministries of law, water and power and finance.
During the course of investigation, NAB said, it came to record that the officers and officials of the law ministry had failed to exercise their lawful authorities by not issuing legal opinion, causing losses 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 had suffered a colossal loss of Rs113 billion due to 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 part of executive authorities of the law ministry, which caused the delay in completion of the projects, the report added.