SC orders new summary to ECC for inviting fresh bids


Qaiser Zulfiqar April 28, 2010

ISLAMABAD: “Prime Minster is a responsible person. If he looks into this matter, the problem will be resolved amicably”, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked Tuesday during the hearing of suo moto case of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import deal.

While adjourning the case hearing till today (Wednesday) the chief justice directed the ministry of petroleum to put up a fresh summary to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet for inviting new bids for the project and awarding the contract to a competent company. The three-member SC bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmed and Justice Ghulam Rabbani also directed the counsel for the petroleum ministry to cancel the previous award of the tender, bring the culprits in light, fix responsibility of irregularities in the award of the contract and proceed against them.

Secretary petroleum Kamran Lashari submitted the report, saying that the government has prepared a new summary to be sent to the ECC according to which the offers of 4-Gas for Mashal project and the offers of Fauji/Vitol for other projects would be reviewed, but the court declared it unsatisfactory. Justice Chaudhry remarked that the court has to ensure transparency in the award of the contract in order to save the country’s exchequer from losses. Justice Chaudhry Ijaz observed that it was incumbent upon the secretary petroleum to provide precise information to the ECC, adding that the wrong ECC decision was spawned by the incorrect information provided to it.

The counsel for the parties, S.M. Zafar for the ministry of petroleum and Abdul Hafeez Pirzada for GDF Suez, informed the court about the progress made by them in light of the observations of the court made yesterday and confirmed that the ministry was willing that subject to 4-Gas being the approved and confirmed developer of Mashal Project they can take the matter to the ECC to consider afresh the matter of LNG supply to the party approved by 4-Gas.

The CJ pointed out that since the decision would not be made on merit, therefore, the court could not come to any conclusion regarding the allegations in the media reports. The court passed the orders directing the government to file the appropriate proposal in writing confirming that 4-Gas is the agreed developer and that the Mashal project will be processed by the government forward from that point in time by submitting the summary to the ECC afresh. In addition the Fauji-Vitol proposal be also considered by the ECC against short-term LNG supply separately.

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