Home News Analysis Shebaz Sharif to face NAB over the Punjab Saaf Pani Company scam

Shebaz Sharif to face NAB over the Punjab Saaf Pani Company scam

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has summoned Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and former chief minister Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif in connection with the Punjab Saaf Pani Company (PSPC) scam, today [Monday].

Punjab Saaf Pani

News Analysis |

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has summoned Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and former chief minister Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif in connection with the Punjab Saaf Pani Company (PSPC) scam, today [Monday].

The PML-N chief was directed to appear before the anti-graft watchdog several times and was presented with a questionnaire, in the investigations of the case. Last month, NAB had issued a notice to Shehbaz appear before the investigation team. But, instead, he preferred to send a representative [Amir Afzal] to help the watchdog with the probe. He had already submitted a written answer to the bureau’s questions.

NAB has accused the former Punjab government of embezzlement and corruption in PSPC. In April, Punjab Government had admitted in the Apex Court that PSPC is yet to make available a single drop of water to its citizens despite spending Rs 400 crore on the project.

CM Punjab-who is known for micromanaging every aspect of Punjab government, must be held responsible for such a horrendous outcome despite spending a hefty amount to provide drinkable water to the people of Punjab.

In early February, NAB had alleged that Punjab government was not submitting the record of PSPC, despite various requests. Apparently, Shehbaz Sharif was accused of violating the PPRA rules in the award of contracts. Resultantly, the PSPC were reluctant to share their record with NAB.  It was alleged that the CM had directly awarded the project to his favored company without providing the equal opportunity to other companies.

NAB had initiated an inquiry into 56 public sector companies formed by the ex-Punjab CM. NAB in March quizzed the three senior bureaucrats of Punjab over the alleged wrongdoing in public sector companies including Punjab Saaf Pani Company.

Read more: Punjab Saaf Pani Project fails to provide a single drop of…

NAB has accused the companies of violating meritocracy, and instead opting for practices of nepotism. Moreover, irregularity in audits and non-transparency of these companies [which worked in direct supervision of CM] made them controversial due to apparent wrongdoings.

Moreover, in March NAB also interrogated the three senior bureaucrats of Punjab over the alleged wrongdoing in PSPC. On June 26, NAB arrested the former chairman of the PSPC-Engineer Qamarul Islam Raja and PML-N’s candidate from NA-59 Rawalpindi-III, over allegations of awarding contracts against the established legal framework.

The PML-N chief was directed to appear before the anti-graft watchdog several times and was presented with a questionnaire, in the investigations of the case. Last month, NAB had issued a notice to Shehbaz appear before the investigation team.

Former CEO of the company, Wasim Ajmal is also apprehended for allegedly making changes in the company’s rules. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar had taken the suo motu action against the alleged irregularities in appointment of staff in the PSPC.

Mr. Ajmal had informed the SC that the company had outlaid the sum of Rs300 million to acquire the services of the foreign consultant. Though the complete cost of the project is Rs150 billion, the company has so far spent Rs400 crore on the installation of 116 plants for clean water, and none is operational.

Read more: Dismal state of water supply is not for human consumption

CJ showed anger when informed over the inclusion of provincial minister Zaeem Qadri’s brother and wife in the PSPC’s board of directors. He questioned the eligibility criterion adopted to include the Zaeem Qadri’s brother, Asim Qadri, and wife, Uzma Qadri in the project.

On June 26, NAB arrested the former chairman of the PSPC-Engineer Qamarul Islam Raja and PML-N’s candidate from NA-59 Rawalpindi-III, over allegations of awarding contracts against the established legal framework.

The website of the company shows that it is expected to deliver the benefits from December 2015 onwards. But, in fact, Metropolitans, towns, and villages in Punjab are forced to drink poisonous and dirty water in absence of no functional water filtration plants.

Read more: “We are not satisfied with your answer,” CJP tells Shehbaz Sharif

Mismanagement in such projects which play a key role in providing a basic necessity and rudimentary requirement is nothing less than a national tragedy. It can have a serious impact on people’s health, despite dolling out a huge amount of taxpayers’ money on such failed projects.

CM Punjab-who is known for micromanaging every aspect of Punjab government, must be held responsible for such a horrendous outcome despite spending a hefty amount to provide drinkable water to the people of Punjab.


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