Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Friday issued notices to the Chairman National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and owners of Central Power Generation Co. Ltd (CPGCL), on a news item published exclusively in The Express Tribune on December 1st under the caption “Nepra detects fraud in rental plant payments.”
The apex court issued notices to the proprietors of CPGCL through Nepra, Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) for a date already fixed for hearing.
While taking notice of the above mentioned news item, the Chief Justice directed the office to place it on record since the disclosure has been made during the pendency of rental power project case in the court.
The Chief Justice ordered Nepra’s chairman to appear and substantiate the news item with documentary proof. Similarly, he asked for notices to be issued to proprietors/owners of CPGCL, through Nepra, to appear in court and submit a reply explaining their position.
According to the press note issued, the issue will be taken up for hearing before commencement of the arguments of the main case, therefore, all concerned were advised to remain in attendance.
Rauf Klasra, editor investigations, adds: The firm in question is said to belong to the Pakistani national Iqbal Z Ahmed and his American business partner former governor Oklahoma David Walters.
The stories about serious violation in rental power contracts awarded last year had been appearing in media since the launch of the scheme. Even the Asian Development Bank in its audit report had raised objections over rental power plant ventures. The then-finance minister Shaukat Tarin too had refused to allow advance payments to rental power projects. Despite this, some companies were given advance payments.
When approached for a comment after the Supreme Court’s suo motu action on the above mentioned news item, a spokesperson for Pakistan Power Resource (PPR), a power company from Lahore, informed this correspondent that “advances are project-based and secured against bank guarantees. Guddu is being signed off and is in mediation; therefore, the advance is being returned. Suffice to say that we find it more prudent to present the full facts before the Supreme Court”. However, he claimed that “the story you refer to, was misreported,” adding that the total amount to be repaid to government of Pakistan was Rs 406million.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2010.