NAB allowed to file supplementary reference in Karkey rental power case till April 6

An accountability court, last year, had acquitted former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, former finance minister Shaukat Tareen and other accused in the Pira Ghaib Rental Power reference

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday sought more time from the accountability court to file a supplementary reference against former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and other accused in the Karkey Rental Power case.

The anti-graft body was supposed to file the supplementary reference against the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) stalwart on Monday, but it failed and pleaded with the court for more time.

“We will file the supplementary reference on the next hearing,” the NAB assured the court. The AC while granting time to the NAB for filing supplementary reference adjourned the hearing until April 6.

It is to be noted that, an accountability court, last year, had acquitted former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, former finance minister Shaukat Tareen and other accused in the Pira Ghaib Rental Power reference.

Judge Muhammad Bashir had announced his verdict on applications of the former premier and others seeking acquittal in the case. Other accused whose acquittal pleas were approved included Shaukat Tareen, Ismail Qureshi, Shahid Rafi, Tahir Basharat Cheema, Muhammad Saleem Arif, Chaudhry Abdul Qadreer, and Iqbal Ali Shah.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed the Pira Ghaib Rental Power reference in 2014, accusing Raja Pervez Ashraf of misusing his powers in his capacity as water and power minister to gain financial benefits in the project.

The Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim (KKEU) was one of 12 rental power companies that had been awarded contracts by the PPP government in 2008-09 to resolve the power crisis. The company failed to provide the required electricity and then it moved the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) which imposed a $1.2 billion penalty on Pakistan in 2017, which is now amicably resolved. Due to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s intervention, the fine worth $1.20 billion imposed on Pakistan was waived.

Ashraf was the federal minister for power and water at the time of the 2009 agreement. He was later elected as the country’s premier. The PPP government had entered into an agreement with Turkey to provide electricity in 2009 and awarded the contract to nine RPP firms (both local and international) for the purpose. The Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) working under the ministry of power and water, signed a contract worth $564.6 million with a Turk company Karkey.

Under the agreement, a rental power project was installed in Karachi to supply 231 MW electricity to PEPCO. However, the rental project failed to do so, given the fact the electricity was turning out to be costly to the country as the government had to pay $9.4 million monthly to the Turkish company.

On an application filed at the Supreme Court (SC) by the then Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Faisal Saleh Hayat and PML-N leader Khawaja Asif, the court held the contract with the Turk company as null and void as there was no transparency maintained in it.

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