KARACHI, July 16: Former navy chief Admiral Mansoor-ul-Haq (retired) and co-accused Commodore Mirza Ashfaq Beg (retired), former director shipping management of the PNSC, who were arrested here in the small hours of Tuesday on charges of shady deals in the purchase of three container ships by the PNSC, causing a loss of 19 million US dollars to the state exchequer, have been remanded in judicial custody.

A judge of an accountability court in Karachi issued non-bailable warrants, after filing of a NAB reference, against them.

Admiral Mansoor was recently set free after he struck a plea bargain with the NAB authorities in the Agosta submarine deals.

The NAB authorities have charged that the accused, in active connivance with each other and with malafide intentions, indulged in acts of misuse of authority, committing acts of corruption and corrupt practices.

The investigations revealed that in 1994 the principal accused, Mansoor-ul- Haq as chairman of the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), manipulated approval for purchase of three ships for the Corporation, NAB claimed. Subsequently, on his appointment as Chief of Naval Staff (ex-officio maritime adviser to Prime Minister) he continued supervision of the purchase process of the said ships. The accused met the then prime minister in 1994 and managed the appointment of other two co-accused, Rear Admiral Javaid Ali (retired) as acting chairman and Commodore Mirza Ashfaq Beg (retired) as director ship management of the PNSC, NAB claimed.

The NAB authorities claimed that the accused were inducted into the PNSC to promote purchase of the said ships through alleged shady deals that led to unlawful financial gains for all those who were involved.

According to NAB, the investigation process finally established “misuse of authority and personal influence in undertaking dubious purchase” of three cargo ships made at prices indicated below against each — much higher than the market prices of the said ships of same specifications:

a. Apolonia (Renamed Sawat) US$ 14.82 million

b. Ora Bhum (Renamed Shalamar) US$ 15.55m

c. Independent Voyager (Renamed Lalazar) US$ 16.77m

Total: US$ 47.14m

The NAB authorities claimed that the ship at serial a had earlier been rejected by the co-accused, Commodore Mirza Ashfaq Beg (retired), who headed the technical committee. It was deceitfully got approved from the Board of Directors. The purchase of the ship at serial b was also made against the procedure laid down by the Board of Director which required inspection of classification record of the vessels before consideration for final purchase.

The Economic Co-ordination Committee’s approval purview was also disregarded by all the three accused who deliberately avoided technical and quality specifications meant for purchase of vessels in violation of national interest, NAB claimed.

Exemptions of 10% customs duty & 5% regulatory duty, along with other duties applicable on purchase of the said ships, which stood expired on December 31, 1995, was ignored. The aforementioned three ships were inducted into the PNSC fleet on February 7, 1996, March 7, 1996 and June 13, 1996, respectively.

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