Former Premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, others indicted in LNG case

KARACHI: An accountability court in Karachi on Wednesday indicted former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and others for allegedly making illegal appointments in Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and causing harm to the national exchequer during his tenure as the petroleum minister.

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During the hearing today, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor told the court Abbasi had “illegally appointed” Sheikh Imran ul Haq as managing director and Yaqub Sattar as deputy managing director of PSO.

NAB officials also told the court the accused had caused a loss of Rs138 million to the national exchequer.

After hearing the NAB prosecutor’s arguments the court indicted the PML-N leader along with Haq, Sattar, Arshad Mirza and others. Abbasi pleaded not guilty to the charges.

It is pertinent to mention here that the accused have already been granted bail by Sindh High Court in the case.

Last year, NAB had arrested Abbasi for alleged corruption while awarding a multi-billion rupee import contract for LNG in 2013 when he was the minister for petroleum and natural resources.

On July 28, 2020, NAB chairman had approved a supplementary reference against Abbasi, his son Abdullah Khaqan Abbasi, Miftah Ismail, ex-chairman of SSGC Board, former CEO of EETPL and MD of PSO, ex-chairman of PQA Agha Jan Akhtar, former chairman of OGRA Saeed Ahmed Khan, ex-member Oil of OGRA Aamir Naseem, ex-chairperson of OGRA Uzma Adil Khan, ex-MD of PSO Shahid M Islam, chairman of Engro Corporation Limited Husain Dawood, director of Engro Corporation Limited Abdul Samad Dawood, and others.

The allegation was that the accused, through a non-transparent process, awarded the LNG Terminal-1 contract.

The accused public office holders misused their authorities in active connivance with each other to give wrongful gains of Rs14.146 billion to EETL/ETPL/ECL in connection with LNG Terminal-1 of EETL and also caused a wrongful loss of Rs7.438 billion, approximately, for non-utilisation of unused capacity of second LNG Terminal of PGPL from March 2015 to September 2019.

Hence, the total liability amounts to Rs21.584 billion, approximately, till September 2019.

It is pertinent to mention here that further losses to be incurred for the next 10 years will amount to Rs47 billion, approximately, as the said contract will expire on March 2029.

During the period, unexplained deposits of Rs1.426 billion were received in the accounts of Abdullah Abbasi and Rs1.294 billion were deposited in the bank accounts of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during between 2013 and 2017, during which the above-said LNG terminal deal was struck.

According to the reference, by concealing the origin of the aforementioned deposits and layering, the accused also committed the offence of money laundering.

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