After being questioned in the fake accounts case earlier this year, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has been summoned again by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday to question him regarding his alleged role in offering subsidies to sugar mills through improper channels, sources and officials said on Monday.
A NAB official confirmed that the anti-graft body has summoned the provincial chief executive in Karachi for Tuesday morning but did not divulge further details.
Shah had earlier appeared before the Supreme Court-formed joint investigation team (JIT) in Islamabad which was probing the money laundering and fake bank accounts case involving transactions worth billions of rupees. The top leadership of the PPP is alleged to be among the beneficiaries of the fake accounts.
A source familiar with the proceedings of the JIT told Dawn that when the issue of provision of subsidies to four to five sugar mills came under discussion, there was a divergence of opinion among the team members. Some members of the JIT contended that this was beyond their mandate as the JIT was supposed to probe the fake bank accounts only.
It was subsequently agreed that NAB would separately conduct a probe into the sugar mills. Therefore, the anti-graft body established a combined investigation team (CIT) led by NAB Rawalpindi Director General Irfan Mangi.
It is the NAB CIT which has summoned the Sindh chief minister tomorrow, the source said.
Regarding the case, the source revealed that when Shah was the Sindh finance minister, subsidies were given to certain sugar mills including "closed" Thatta Sugar Mills, Dadu Sugar Mills, etc.
One of the stated purposes of such subsidies was to "revive sick industrial units" but that money was allegedly not utilised for the intended purposes.
Another official said that the Sindh chief minister was also facing a probe by NAB in the Nooriabad power project case in which three people were already arrested in May. They included Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company Chairman Khursheed Jamali, CEO M/S Technomen Kinetic Pvt Ltd Syed Asif Mahmood and Director Nooriabad Power Company Syed Arif Ali.
According to NAB, they were arrested for extending illegal favours to M/S Technomen Kinetic Pvt Ltd and others in projects of Sindh Nooriabad Power Company and Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company (STDC), and causing a $16 million loss to the national exchequer.
The Nooriabad power project was originally conceived by the Sindh government in 2012, but could not be materialised then due to "red-tapism and delays in regulatory approvals".
The project was finally launched in August 2014 under a public-private partnership at a cost of Rs13bn in which the Sindh government held 49 per cent shares and a private company owned 51pc. A 95km long, 132kV double-circuit transmission line was laid from Nooriabad to Karachi at a cost of Rs1.95bn.
SECMC Chairman Jamali, who was then director Sindh Nooriabad Power Company Ltd, said in 2017 that the plant would use gas to produce 100MW of power at less than Rs10 per unit, as compared to the Rs15 per unit charged by the Water and Power Development Authority.
Earlier this year, the Sindh cabinet was informed that the power plant had earned a profit of Rs6.62bn.