NAB about to finalise four more references in RPP scam

Source: Published in Business & Economy on Wednesday, April 23, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is about to finalise four more references related to Rs82 billion Rental Power Projects (RPP) scam, according to inside sources.

“Final touches are being given to four more references. It is expected that they will be finalised in the coming meeting of the NAB executive board,” a source said.

The draft references were prepared by the NAB Rawalpindi region chapter which sent them to the bureau’s headquarters four months ago for approval and filing in court.

Presently three references in the RPP scam are being tried in the Accountability Court of Islamabad. They are related to Naudero-II, Pirgheb and Sahuwal power projects.

“Work on four to five more references is in final stage,” NAB’s Public Relation Officer Hafiz Mohammad Irfan confirmed. The references are related to Reshma, Techno, Young Generation and Pakistan power projects and a Turkish power plant called Karkey.

But the NAB cannot file a reference on the Turkish plant because of international arbitration.

In 2008, nine RPP firms were awarded contracts to install power projects to overcome electricity shortage in the country.

They received a mobilisation advance of over Rs82bn from the government to commission the projects. But most of them are accused of having failed to set up the plants. A few of them installed the plants but after an inordinate delay.

According to the NAB’s procedure, after an investigation into a case, it is sent to the headquarters and presented before the executive board. If approved, it is referred to the NAB chairman for his final nod and then filed as a reference in an accountability court.

Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf is accused of having received kickbacks and commission in the RPPs’ deal when he was minister for water and power in 2008.

A case pertaining to the RPP scam is also being tried in the Supreme Court but it is believed that after the retirement of former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, the NAB has adopted a policy of go slow in the cases involving politicians.

On the other hand, the government has recently decided to revive controversial RPPs under a new policy but the NAB has reservations over the move.

The decision will lead to revival of three RPPs in first stage and subsequently allow sponsors of other projects to stage a comeback.

The sponsors of 90MW Reshma Power Project, 100MW Techno Power Project and 70MW of Gulf Power have reached an understanding with the government about the revival of their plants.

A NAB official said revival of Reshma and Techno power projects would cause concerns in the bureau because of bad track record of their sponsors.

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