ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) approved on Wednesday filing of a reference against the ship-mounted Turkish power plant, Karkey.

The plant was brought to Karachi Port to provide electricity to the national grid in 2009 under the then government’s rental power projects (RPP) policy to overcome the energy crisis.

It is the forth reference related to the RPP scam which also carries the name of former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf as one of the accused.

The other accused are: former federal secretary Ismail Qureshi (presently serving as Rector National School of Public Policy), ex-secretary Shahid Rafi, senior Karkey office-bearer Babar Zulqarnain, former managing directors of the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) Fazal Ahmed and Tahir Basharat Cheema, former managing director of the Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) Fayyaz Elahi, its incumbent Managing Director N.A. Zuberi, three chief executives of Lakhra Power Generation Company (LPGCL-Genco) and others.

“The NAB’s executive board approved the filing of a reference against M/s Karkey (through its directors), government officials and public office-holders, including the former prime minister (Raja Ashraf), two former federal secretaries and others,” the bureau’s spokesman Ramzan Sajid said.

NAB says it has to recover $120 million from Karkey in the Rs22bn RPP case. Nine companies, including Karkey, are accused of taking advance payment from the government for installing 12 power plants in 2008, but they have failed to provide electricity within the stipulated time, causing huge losses to the national exchequer.

The Supreme Court had directed NAB to recover the amount from the nine firms. The last PPP government had agreed to send two of the four Turkish ships, but they could not leave for Turkey after the apex court intervened in the case.

On Oct 30, 2012, 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 bureau to recover $120m (Rs11.4bn) from the Turkish company.

Consequently, the Turkish company had in March last year moved the World Bank-affiliated International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes against Pakistan for not allowing its ships to leave for Turkey for almost 16 months, which caused the firm to suffer $700m losses. The company contended that it was also a breach of Article VII of the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) signed by the Pakistan government on March 16, 1995.

“The accused M/s Karkey, government officials and public office-holders, acting in collusion with each other, committed a series of illegal and unlawful acts such as flouting the decisions of the federal cabinet, misleading the cabinet and its Economic Coordination Committee by misrepresenting and concealing facts, changing the bid evaluation criteria, post-bid changes in violation of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules, extending illegal mobilisation advance resulting in undue and illegal benefits to the sponsors i.e. M/s Karkey,” the NAB spokesman said.

He said that an amount of $128m with mark-up (due against Karkey as determined by the Supreme Court) and Rs792.7m (on account of miscellaneous infrastructure cost) had to be recovered from the sponsors and government functionaries in the case.

The PPP government had in 2009 awarded the contract to nine RPP firms (both local and international) to provide electricity, but it had to be wrapped up after allegations of kickbacks and commission taken by PPP leaders.

Karkey is accused of obtaining $79m (Rs7.55bn) as mobilisation advance from the government for supplying 232MW under the RPP policy to overcome the power crisis.

Earlier, NAB filed three RPP references in an accountability court and all carried the name of Raja Pervez Ashraf. He is accused of awarding the contract to nine companies he was minister for water and power. The projects included Naudero-II, Sahuwal and Piragheb power plants.

OTHER CASES: The NAB executive board authorised conversion of an inquiry into investigation against Tariq Awan, Secretary Workers Welfare Board in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He is accused of awarding scholarships to fake/non-entitled persons.

The board also authorised five inquiries — one against former Balochistan food minister Asfand Yar Kakar, former provincial food secretary Ali Bux Baloch and others for alleged corruption in wheat procurement in Killa Abdullah district which caused Rs292.8m losses to the exchequer.

The NAB spokesman said two inquiries had been authorised against officers of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and others for illegally awarding an advertising contract to M/s Midas Pvt Ltd in violation of PPRA rules and for making illegal appointments and doling out duplicate/fake payments to ineligible people.

Two inquiries relate to bank loan default cases referred by the State Bank. One is against Kashir Textile Mills Limited and its directors/guarantors for defaulting Rs126.9m of the UBL and the other against Humayon Naseer Sheikh in the Bank of Punjab case relating to a default of Rs77.4m.

NAB also authorised a ‘complaint verification’ on allegations against MNA Makhdoom Amin Faheem that he had accumulated assets beyond his known sources and means.

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