NAB probe against Shahid Khaqan Abbasi closed in December

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) wrapped up in December an inquiry conducted for 17 months against Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for his alleged role in awarding a Rs220 billion contract for the import and distribution of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2013.

A spokesman for the bureau told Dawn: “NAB, Karachi, closed the case in its regional board meeting held on Dec 19, 2016 on merit.”

The inquiry was stopped despite the fact that it had been proved that the contract had been awarded in a ‘non-transparent manner’.

See: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi sworn in as prime minister of Pakistan

A document available with Dawn revealed that the Karachi NAB director general remarked in the meeting: “After exhaustive discussion it has been decided that it is an ongoing project and any intervention by NAB at this juncture will jeopardise the efforts of provision of LNG from the project of public/national importance. It is, therefore, decided [to close the] inquiry [at] our end.”

However, the document said that in the same meeting it was unveiled that “during the inquiry proceeding it has been established that management of Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL), in non-transparent manner, selected M/s Engro as a successful bidder for LNG terminal at port Karachi”.

The NAB inquiry found that the SSGCL signed the 15-year contract with a subsidiary company of Engro for re-gasification of LNG at fixed daily processing charges.

The government authorised the Pakistan State Oil to procure LNG on behalf of the SSGCL.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has decided to file a petition in the Supreme Court against Prime Minister Abbasi. The former minister for petroleum and natural resources was a principal suspect in the NAB inquiry.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2017