National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has reportedly started investigation into power plants set up under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), well-informed sources told Business Recorder.Chinese companies have established or are in the process of establishing power plants worth $ 35 billion due to which load shedding has been done away with across the country except those areas where losses are higher than 10 per cent.
The departments/organisations which are being investigated are Power Division, Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB), National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), Government of Punjab and sponsors of power plants' established under CPEC.
According to official documents, PPIB which is dealing with coal and RLNG -based power plants has written letters to different concerned departments to appoint focal persons to deal with NAB. The government intends to privatize RLN- projects.
"PPIB understands that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has solicited nominations for appointment of separate focal persons from Nepra, Ministry of Energy (Power Division), PPIB and sponsors of coal-fired power plants established in Sahiwal and Port Qasim Karachi in relation to the inquiry and is desired that the focal persons should appear before the NAB on separate dates," the sources added.
PPIB, sources said, had been separately advised to appear before NAB, Rawalpindi in June to give its viewpoint on this issue. An official told Business Recorder that the inquiry is more about determination of tariff by Nepra but other issues are also part of the investigation.
Many retired and incumbent officials of Nepra are facing inquiries in NAB with respect to tariffs granted to different CPEC-related and other projects. One of Nepra's ex-Director Generals (tariff), Insaf Ahmed, who was considered an upright and honest officer is under NAB custody and apparently, chances of his release are bleak despite the fact that the issue has been taken up at the level of Federal Cabinet and other high level fora. Likewise, two top former officials of Nepra Zafar Ali Khan and Lt. General Saeed uz-Zafar( retired) are also facing inquiries by NAB. On July 9, 2019, the name of Lt. General Saeed uz-Zafar (retired) was mentioned when the issue of Nishat Power came under discussion in the Senate sub-committee on Power headed by Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak. The sub-committee wanted to fix July 11, 2019 (today) for next meeting but the recently appointed Member Nepra from KP who is now acting as Vice Chairman Nepra, Bahadar Khan requested the convener of the committee to fix another date as the Nepra's team has to appear before NAB on this date. When contacted a senior official of Power Division claimed that NAB is investigating the contracts of power projects. However, NAB's spokesperson argues that NAB is not investigating CPEC projects.