Corruption case: Wapda chief bows out after govt threatens dismissal

Authority chairman is accused of misusing funds for hydropower projects, faces several inquiries.

Zafar Bhutta April 18, 2014
Syed Raghib Abbas Shah. PHOTO: FILE


Chairman Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Syed Raghib Abbas Shah has been shown the door by the PML-N government after several charges of corruption were brought against him.

Sources say the chairman was asked to resign or face dismissal. Abbas subsequently tendered his resignation, which was accepted by the prime minister.

Speaking with The Express Tribune, Abbas said he had resigned due to personal reasons and quashed rumours of any rift with the present government.

Abbas was said to be close to a top politician from Sindh who had paved way for his appointment as chairman during the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) government.

Sources maintained that the current government had opened several inquiries against Abbas for his alleged involvement in the misuse of funds allocated for mega hydropower projects including the Diamer Bhasha dam, Neelum Jhelum and Mangla Dam Raising Project. Abbas is accused of diverting funds allocated for these projects. He allegedly misappropriated funds earmarked for the acquisition of land for the Diamer Bhasha dam project. Abbas faces allegations of delaying the implementation of the hydropower projects, which led to an escalation in the cost of these projects.

Sources say Abbas appointed those close to him to executive posts in Wapda after their retirement. These officials, from Sindh, were to be hired for consultant positions, but Abbas managed to have them appointed to executive posts, sources added.

A preliminary report prepared by Imtiaz Tajwar, secretary Wapda, held Syed Jamaat Ali Shah, former commissioner of Pakistan Commission of Indus Water, responsible for the construction of the controversial 45-MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project on the Indus River by India. However, after taking office as chairman Wapda, Abbas declared Shah innocent.

The 57-metre high Nimoo-Bazgo hydroelectric project was completely developed in the Leh District on the River Indus and ensured the sustained and cheap supply of electricity to Indian troops in Siachen.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2014.


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