ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top accountability watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau, has formally nominated former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in the Rs 22 billion Rental Power Projects (RPPs) case.
The bureau filed a 263-page reference against the former prime minister in an accountability court on Wednesday, sources told DawnNews. Proceedings for the case are now scheduled to resume on Nov 19.
Ashraf, a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) politician who served as premier between June 22, 2012 and March 25, 2013, is accused of receiving kickbacks and commissions from nine rental power project firms for awarding contracts for setting up their projects in 2008 to overcome electricity crisis in the country.
NAB has been investigating 12 RPPs cases in which nine firms reportedly received more than Rs22 billion as mobilisation advance from the government to commission the projects, but most of them were accused of failing to set up plants.
The bureau has already recovered Rs13 billion in the case.
A bureau official told Dawn last week that NAB Rawalpindi has completed investigation into five of the 12 RPPs cases. “All five references prepared by NAB Rawalpindi carry the name of Mr Ashraf. Four of them are about Naudero-II Power Project, Piraghaib Power Project, Sahiwal Power Project and Karkey,” he said.
The Supreme Court directed NAB on Jan 11 to arrest the people involved in the RPPs scam, including Ashraf, who was the prime minister at that time.
Then NAB chairman Admiral retired Fasih Bokhari did not abide by the Supreme Court order and after his removal on May 28, Ashraf could not be arrested because approval of NAB chairman was mandatory to make major decisions like filing references and making arrests.
APP adds: The names of Iqbal Z Ahmed and M N Beg were also included as accused in the investigation report but the reference against them could not be filed due to restraining order passed by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday, NAB sources said.
The order has refrained the NAB authorities from arresting the accused and taking any coercive measure against them. The NAB chairman has decided that a supplementary reference against Iqbal Z Ahmed and M. N Beg would be filed after disposal of their writ petitions.
In Naudero-II RPP case, the nine accused persons against whom preliminary reference was filed in the accountability court include former Secretary Ministry Water and Power and ex-chairman PEPCO Shahid Rafi, ex-additional Secretary Water and Power Ministry Sheikh Zarrar Aslam, ex-MD/CEO PEPCO Engineer Tahir Basharat Cheema, ex-directors PEPCO Board of Directors Malik Muhammad Razi Abbas and Wazir Ali Bhayo, ex-GM Wapda Power Privatisation Organization , CEO Central Power Generation Company Ltd (CPGCL), Tariq Nazir, ex-CEO CPGCL Abdul Malik Memon and ex-MD PEPCO Rasool Khan Mahsud.