News Desk |
An accountability court has acquitted the former law minister Babar Awan and a former judge, Justice (r) Riaz Kiyani, in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s reference pertaining to the Nandipur Power Project.
However, the accountability court judge Arshad Malik has dismissed acquittal petitions of the former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, among others. The court had reserved verdict on February 11 and announced on June 25.
The Nandipur project was approved by the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet on Dec 27, 2007, at a cost of $329 million.
NAB Rawalpindi had filed the reference against seven politicians and officials. Apart from Awan, Kiyani and Ashraf, former secretary of the ministry of law Muhammad Masood Chishti, former research consultant of the law ministry Shamila Mahmood, former senior joint secretary ministry of law Dr Riaz Mahmood and former secretary ministry of water and power Shahid Rafi were named in the reference.
The acquittal pleas of Shumaila Mehmood and Dr Riaz Mehmood were also rejected by the court. On September 4, 2018, Awan had resigned as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser on parliamentary affairs after NAB filed the corruption reference against him and the PPP’s former PM Ashraf.
Suspects caused loss of Rs27.3 billion to national exchequer: NAB
In the reference, NAB had contended that the project had faced a delay of two years, one month and 15 days, resulting in a loss of Rs27.3billion to the national exchequer.
Awan, who had served as the federal minister for law and justice in the cabinet of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, said that two summaries were submitted to the law ministry for the project but he wasn’t the law minister then. He said that his name was not mentioned anywhere in the NAB reference.
The accountability court judge Arshad Malik has dismissed acquittal petitions of the former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, among others.
During the arguments on the acquittal application, the media reported, the NAB prosecutor informed the court that the accused had committed dishonesty to delay Nandipur Power Project execution which caused the huge financial loss to the national exchequer.
Interestingly, it was reported, the prosecutor said that there were no corruption charges against the accused nominated in the reference rather they were charged with committing dishonesty to delay the project. The prosecutor stated that the project was delayed despite the orders of the then prime minister and cabinet.
As per the media reports, the Nandipur project was approved by the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet on Dec 27, 2007, at a cost of $329 million.
NAB had contended that the project had faced a delay of two years, one month and 15 days, resulting in a loss of Rs27.3billion to the national exchequer.
Following the approval, an English daily said, a contract was signed on Jan 28, 2008, between the Northern Power Generation Company Limited and the Dong Fang Electric Corporation, China, and two consortiums — Coface for 68.967m euros and Sinosure for $150.151m — were set up for financing the project.
AB reference, the paper said that the water and power ministry sought legal opinion on the project from the law ministry in accordance with the schedule of the agreement in July 2009, but the accused repeatedly refused to provide it. In addition, it said, the water and power ministry also failed to take any concrete steps to resolve the issue and the matter remained pending.