ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan today resumed hearing of the scandalous Nandipur power project case, which was reopened yesterday in connection with a longstanding apparent war against financial corruption and corrupt practices.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the case today.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor informed the esteemed court that the inquiry against Nandipur power project was pending. “Since when has the inquiry been pending?” the chief justice inquired, as he asked for more details of other references pending with the anti-graft bureau.
The NAB prosecutor apprised the court that the inquiry began on February 20, 2017, however, the law ministry had delayed it by two years. “The inquiry is in its final stages,” the prosecutor said. He also informed the SC bench that the probe into outsourcing the power project commenced earlier this year in June.
“How many inquiries, in total, are pending with NAB?” the chief justice inquired. “We have to determine who is responsible for wrapping up all pending inquiries. Is NAB unaccountable for all these delays?”
The top judge then ordered the bureau to check if its former chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry was in Islamabad to appear before the court. “Let us take up a case against the former NAB chairman for the delay,” Justice Nisar said.
Expressing his annoyance with the prolonged time taken to wrap up cases, the chief justice remarked that strict action will be taken against any inquiry officer found guilty of delaying corruption inquires.
“Cases are shelved after they are opened but this cannot continue. An inquiry should be taken up only if it has substantial weight, otherwise people cannot be left hanging,” the chief justice said.
During the proceedings, former NAB chief Chaudhry appeared before the court. “You have given many concessions during your time. With so many cases left pending [during your tenure], let us order an inquiry against you,” the chief justice said to Chaudhry.
The Supreme Court then summoned a list of all cases pending with the bureau during Chaudhry’s tenure as the NAB chief.
The hearing is currently under way.
Nandipur power project was established in 2005 to generate 525 megawatts of electricity. It was estimated to cost Rs22 billion but it went up to Rs58 billion due to extensions and delays.