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NAB firms up probe against ex-PM Abbasi – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The National Accoun­tability Bureau (NAB) on Monday put the multi-billion rupees Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) case against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and ex-minister Miftah Ismail into next stage of investigation from inquiry.

The decision was taken at NAB’s executive board meeting (EBM) presided over by its chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal.

According to NAB’s procedure, first a complaint is registered, and then its verification is conducted. If any corruption is detected in the complaint verification process, an inquiry is carried out and then investigation is conducted before filing of a reference.

“The EBM authorised six investigations, including against officers of foreign and interior ministries, former prime minister, former minister for petroleum and natural resources, relevant secretary, management of Sui Southern Gas Company, Interstate Gas System, Eliengy Terminal Pakistan Limited and others,” said a NAB press release.

In March, the former prime minister appeared before NAB in the LNG case after which the anti-graft watchdog recommended a travel ban on him.

Separately, three references were approved for filing

On Jan 2, the EBM had authorised two inquiries against Mr Abbasi, being former minister for petroleum and natural resources — one for his alleged involvement in irregularities in import of LNG and the other related to the appointment of Naeemuudin Khan as president of the Bank of Punjab.

Mr Abbasi had said in the recent past that he had not committed any illegality in awarding the contracts for LNG import and he could prove his innocence at any forum. He said the import of LNG was necessary in 2013 when the country was facing acute shortage of gas.

Not only Shahid Khaqan Abbasi but former prime minister Nawaz Sharif also was accused of misusing the authority by giving the contract of LNG terminal to 15 different companies of their choice.

NAB approved the filing of three corruption references against several people, including former vice chancellor of Punjab University Dr Mujahid Kamran for recruiting 454 persons and giving scholarships to his favourites in violation of rules and regulations.

Another reference will be filed against Tariq Qazim, chief executive officer NTDC, and others. They are accused of illegally investing Rs200 million in Trust Investment Bank, causing a loss of Rs165.86m to the national exchequer.

The third reference was authorised against Javed Pervaiz, former chief executive officer of the Islamabad Electric Supply Company, and others for investing Rs120m in Trust Investment Bank.

Investigations were also ordered against Jam Khan Shoro, former minister for local bodies; officers of Revenue Department Sindh and others; and officers of the Balochistan Integrated Water Resource Management and Development Project.

The meeting approved eight inquiries against SSG Gas Company, Interstate Gas System, LNG Terminal, Pakistan Limited and others; Qudratullah, general manager of National Fertiliser Marketing Limited, and others; Mohammad Saleem Makti, Thanubola Khan, officers of district Jamshoro and others; officers of the Irrigation Department, Khyber Pakhtun­khwa, and officers of the Peshawar Electric Supply Company and others; officers of Integrated Water Resource Management; and officers of the railways ministry and Department of Railways Division.

Inquiries have also been ordered against officers of the National Highway Authority, Medical Teaching Institute, Khyber Teaching Hospital, Peshawar, officers of Mardan Medical Complex, Irrigation Department, and the KP chief secretary for further legal proceedings.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2019

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