Court rejects PPP leader’s acquittal plea in RPP case

Updated 09 Jul 2020

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Former premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is accused of having received kickbacks. — Dawn/File
Former premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is accused of having received kickbacks. — Dawn/File

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court-I of Islamabad on Wednesday dismissed the plea seeking acquittal of former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and others in the Naudero-II Rental Power Project (RPP) case.

Accountability judge Mohammad Bashir dismissed the petition seeking acquittal of Mr Ashraf, former federal secretary Shahid Rafi, former managing director of Pepco Tahir Basharat Cheema, Tariq Nazeer, Abdul Malik, Rasool Khan Mehsood, Sheikh Zarar Aslam, Razi Abbas and Wazir Khan Bhaio.

They have been accused of causing Rs7.5 million loss to the national exchequer.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has alleged that the amount was paid to the contractor as the processing fee even without the relocation of the machinery and equipment for the project.

Based in Naudero, Sindh, the contract for the RPP project was awarded on March 4, 2010. Mr Ashraf, who was then serving as the federal minister for water and power, approved the project which NAB investigations determined was ‘unfeasible and unsolicited’.

Ashraf is accused of having received kickbacks

The total liability of the project, worked out by the ministry of water and power, was $47.76 million.

NAB had filed the Naudero-II reference in 2013. The reference alleged that Mr Ashraf and Pepco officials planned to relocate the machinery from Guddu Power Plant to Naudero-II and they paid Rs7.5 million from the national exchequer as processing fee even before the transfer of the equipment to the new site.

In the RPP scam, nine firms were accused of receiving more than Rs22 billion as mobilisation advance from the government to commission the projects, but most of them did not set up their plants and a few of them installed some plants after an inordinate delay. Of the total recoverable amount of Rs22 billion, NAB has so far recovered Rs5 billion, in addition to Rs8 billion paid by the firms on the order of the Supreme Court.

Mr Ashraf is accused of having received kickbacks and commission in the RPP deal when he was the federal minister for water and power in 2008.

Recently, the Accountability Court-II of Islamabad acquitted Mr Ashraf and others in two RPPs cases, namely Sahuwal and Piranghaib, observing that they did not cause any financial loss to the national exchequer.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2020