‘Solar energy project funds have been misappropriated’

NAB tells SHC that 20,000 houses were to be provided electricity under scheme


Our Correspondent October 19, 2017
The project that aims to electrify 20,000 houses and streets in different cities was conceived by then minister for local government, rural development and public health, Sharjeel Inam Memon. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Around half the amount proudly allocated by the Sindh government to electrify 20,000 houses with solar energy in the province is feared to have been misappropriated, disclosed National Accountability Bureau investigators to the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday.

In response to the court’s notice on bail applications filed by the accused nominated in the scam, the NAB special prosecutor said the project - Roshan Sindh - was launched with a total value of Rs4 billion.

Headed by SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, a two-judge bench was hearing applications filed by the accused, including Athar Hussain and Azhar Azhar Qadri, seeking bail to avoid arrest by the anti-graft watchdog.

The project that aims to electrify 20,000 houses and streets in different cities was conceived by then minister for local government, rural development and public health, Sharjeel Inam Memon.

Under the project 4,000 solar lights costing Rs900 million were to be installed in Hyderabad division, 3,500 lights costing Rs800 million in Mirpurkhas division, 1,000 lights costing Rs210 million in municipal and towns committees of Karachi, 3,500 lights costing Rs727 million in Benazirabad division, 4,000 lights costing Rs836 million in Sukkur division and 4,000 solar lights worth Rs770 million will be installed in Larkana division.

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The prosecutor said 10 employees of the local government department had been nominated in the inquiry. He informed the court that it was apprehended that around Rs2 billion, of the total Rs4 billion funds, had been misappropriated.

The prosecutor maintained that the inquiry into the matter had been completed and a reference had been prepared. The reference will be sent to the competent authority for approval for filing it before the concerned accountability court, the prosecutor said, pleading to the court to allow the time to file a report until the same was done.

Granting the request, the bench allowed the prosecutor time till November 24 to get the reference approved by the NAB competent authority and inform the court on the latest update in this regard by the next date of hearing.

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