–NAB court rejects former PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s acquittal plea
ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Tuesday accepted the acquittal pleas of former law minister Babar Awan and former law secretary Riaz Kiyani while refusing to acquit former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in the Nandipur reference.
The acquittal pleas of Shumaila Mehmood, a former consultant to the law ministry, and Dr Riaz Mahmood, former senior joint secretary of law, were also turned down by the court.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had nominated a total of seven accused, five of whom had earlier filed bail pleas, in this reference pertaining to delay in execution of the Nandipur Power Project which caused a loss of Rs27 billion to the national exchequer.
The corruption watchdog in the reference contended that the Nandipur Power Project project had faced a delay of two years, one month and 15 days, resulting in a loss of Rs 27.3 billion to the national exchequer.
The power plant project, located in Gujranwala district of Punjab, could not be completed and operated on time because the accused, Babar Awan failed to issue legal opinions.
The Nandipur Power Project was approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) in December 2007 at a cost of $329 million.
After the approval, the contract was signed on Jan 28, 2008, between the Northern Power Generation Company Limited and a Chinese firm, Dong Fang Electric Corporation. Two consortiums — Coface for 68.967m euros and Sinosure for $150.151m — were set up for financing the project.
The water and power ministry sought legal opinion on the project from the law ministry in accordance with the schedule of the agreement in July 2009, but the accused, law minister at the time, repeatedly refused to do so.
The water and power ministry also failed to take any concrete steps to resolve the issue and the matter remained pending.
The corruption watchdog said that the legal opinion was issued in November 2011 after Awan was replaced as the law minister.