National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has readied a corruption reference against former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in Rental Power Projects (RPPs) case, but the bureau is waiting to get a chief to file it in the accountability court.
The corruption reference pertaining to Naudero II power plant case was finalised after recording final statement by the former prime minister who failed to justify his actions, said a NAB official.
“But every reference has to be signed by the chairman of NAB before it can be filed before the accountability court,” said the official.
The accountability bureau was without chairman since its former head Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari was removed from his post by the Supreme Court last May. He added that references against other accused in the RPPs cases have already been filed in different accountability courts.
The reference against Pervaiz Ashraf was pending as investigators probing the RPPs case were waiting for his defence statement. “Now a supplementary reference will be filed against the former prime minister,” said the bureau official.
Ashraf was accused of approving the Naudero II power project as minister for water and power. The 50 MW Naudero II was ‘unsolicited’ and its approval was illegal, the NAB official added.
The contract for the power project was granted to US company Walter. It was operational at the time of start of investigations however it was generating power below par. Investigations into the Naudero II project revealed that no separate machinery was purchased for the power project.
“The machinery from Guddu barrage was shifted to Naudero II to run it for whatever energy it produced,” said the NAB investigator. He added that the power project was not as per the needs demonstrated by the government. Ashraf as water and power minister approved the project despite objections by the finance ministry.
The ex-PM was summoned by NAB officials multiple times for questioning on the Naudero II power project case.
Pervaiz maintained that he did nothing illegal in particular project as he was authorised as water and power minister to approve or reject the project. He asserted that he approved the Naudero II project by remaining within his rights as minister and after examining all merits and demerits of the project.
NAB officials said the reference against the former prime minister was finalised only after he failed to defend the accusation against him otherwise the charges would have been dropped and the reference would not have been filed.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2013.