An accountability court in Islamabad will indict Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in the Nooriabad Power Plant case on June 30.
Islamabad Accountability Court-III Judge Asghar Ali on Tuesday resumed hearing of a reference filed against Shah for allegedly violating rules in construction of the power plant.
The Nooriabad case was one of the many cases that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed against the PPP leadership in the wake of its probe into a multi-billion rupees money laundering case.
On Tuesday, the judge earlier approved Shah’s request to exempt him from appearing in the hearing for a day but later announced that the court will indict the Sindh CM on June 30.
During the hearing, the NAB prosecutor told the court that a co-accused, Muhammad Ali, had fled the country. The court declared the co-accused an absconder, issuing his permanent arrest warrants. It also asked the authorities to put his name on the Exit Control List and to block his identity card (CNIC).
The court ordered all accused to appear at the next hearing, June 30, and adjourned the proceedings.
Separately, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted post arrest bail to three key accused in the money laundering case including Hussain Lawai, who was regarded as a close confidant of PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.
An IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Jahangiri granted bail to the accused against guarantees of Rs1m each. Lawai, a former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), was arrested in July 2018 and NAB had later filed two references against him.
The IHC bench on Tuesday granted him bail in both the cases. The other accused who were granted bails were Talha Raza and Umair.
The reference, filed by NAB Rawalpindi, stated that the funds Shah had issued for power projects in Sindh were in violation of rules and that billions of rupees were embezzled in the Nooriabad Power Company and the Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company projects.
The Nooriabad Power Project was originally envisaged by the Sindh government in 2012 but could not materialise 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 Rs13 billion in which the Sindh government held 49% shares and a private company owned 51%.
A 95-km-long, 132kV double-circuit transmission line was laid from Nooriabad to Karachi at a cost of Rs1.95 billion. Shah was an adviser to then Sindh chief minister of finance and energy at the time. It was alleged that the procedure had caused a loss of $16 million to the national exchequer.