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RPP case: NAB prepares reference against Turkish company

October 07, 2013

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 6: The National Accountability Bureau has prepared a reference against the Turkish ship-mounted power plant, Karkey, and it also carries the name of former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf as one of the accused.

It is the fourth reference in the Rs22 billion rental power scam and investigation into eight other contracts is under way. The contracts were awarded by the PPP-led government in 2008.

“NAB’s Islamabad-Rawalpindi regional office has prepared the reference and sent it to the headquarters for action,” a senior official of the NAB who did not want to be named told Dawn on Sunday.

But like previous three references, it also cannot be sent to an accountability court because the post of NAB chairman is lying vacant and his/her approval is a must under the constitution.

When asked if the fourth reference is also against former prime minister Raza Pervez Ashraf, the official: “Yes, it carries his and some other bigwigs’ names.”

Interestingly, the NAB has prepared the reference against the Turkish firm when it entered into an international arbitration for what it called ‘unfair’ treatment.

NAB officials are confident that the international arbitration will not affect their investigation.

“The international arbitration will not affect the investigation because it is not only against Karkey but local politicians and bureaucrats also,” the official said.

Nine companies, which have won contracts to install power projects, have received more than Rs22 billion as mobilisation advance to commission the projects, but most of them have not set up plants. A few companies have installed, but after an inordinate delay.

The Turkish government had expressed concern over the NAB reference during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent visit to that country and Mr Sharif reportedly told them that he could not interfere in the case because it was being tried by an accountability court.

The PPP-led government had agreed to send two of the four Turkish ships berthed at Port Qasim in Karachi, but they could not leave for Turkey after the Supreme Court intervened in the case.

On Oct 30 last year, the NAB and the Turkish firm reached an agreement which allowed the company to leave Pakistan after paying Rs1.62bn. But the apex court rejected the agreement and directed the NAB to recover $120m (Rs11.4bn) from the Turkish company.

The NAB has completed investigation into four RPPs — Naudero-II Power Project, Piraghaib Power Project, Sahuwal Power Project and Karkey – so far and prepared references against them.

According to NAB’s procedure, after completion of investigation, the case is sent to the headquarters and it is presented before the NAB’s executive board. After approval of the board, the case is referred to the NAB chairman for his approval and then it is filed as a reference in the accountability court.

Former prime minister Ashraf appeared before NAB investigators on May 17, 2013, and recorded his statement. He was accused of having received kickbacks and commission in the RPP deals when he was the minister of water and power in 2008.