Pakistan’s ex-PM Raja Ashraf indicted for corruption

Islamabad: An accountability court has indicted former Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, former Law Minister Babar Awan and five others in a corruption case.

Accountability judge Mohammad Arshad Malik, here on Monday, framed the charges in the Nandipur Power Project case, which included “causing delay in according approval to the project”, that led to a loss of Rs 27 billion to the national exchequer.

In the reference, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) said the project located in Gujranwala had been delayed for two years, one month and 15 days because the accused failed to issue legal opinions.

All the accused in the case pleaded “not guilty”, Dawn News reported.

The reference against seven politicians and government officials was filed in September 2018.

The Nandipur project was approved by the Economic Coordination Committee on December 27, 2007 to be built at a cost of $329 million. Following the approval, a contract was signed on January 28, 2008 between the Northern Power Generation Company Limited and the Dong Fang Electric Corporation of China.

Two consortiums — Coface for 68.967 million Euros and Sinosure for $150.151 million — were set up to finance the project.

The Water and Power Ministry then sought legal opinion on the project from the Law Ministry, but the accused repeatedly ignored the request.

The Ministry of Water and Power also failed to take any concrete steps to resolve the issue and the matter remained pending.

According to NAB, the legal opinion was issued in November 2011 after Awan was replaced as the Law Minister.

During investigation, the NAB said it established that the accused committed the offense(s) of corruption and corrupt practice.