ISLAMABAD - National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal has approved a corruption reference against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former finance minister Miftah IsmaiL, former managing director Pakistan State Oil (PSO) Sheikh Imranul Haq and others over illegal award of LNG tender to M/S Engro Elengy Terminal Limited (EETL), The Nation has learnt.

In October 2019, the regional board of NAB Rawalpindi had recommended its headquarters to file a corruption reference against Abbasi, Miftah Ismail and others over the LNG tender and EETL scam.

The sources said the regional board had accepted all recommendations of the investigation team regarding multi-billion rupees corruption in LNG scam and sent the case to NAB headquarters to take decision on it. They said that following the recommendations of RBM of NAB Rawalpindi, the chairman gave approval to file a corruption reference.

NAB Rawalpindi will file the corruption reference against the accused in next two to three days, they claimed.

Two accused become approvers against former premier

The sources claimed that during course of investigation, it was revealed that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as minister for petroleum had given favour to M/S Engro Elengy Terminal Limited (EETL) during tendering process of Fast Track LNG Project. In 2010, he selected the consultants in violation of Procurement of Consultancy Services Regulations and made non-transparent selection of M/S EETL through a tailor-made tendering process. They said Abbasi deliberately ignored opinion of Law Division in 2014 and was allegedly involved in awarding LNG Terminal-1 to M/S EETL at exorbitant capacity charges.

They said Shahid Abbasi was also involved in appointments of his close aides in various sub-departments of petroleum ministry including PSO ISGS, SNGPL, SSGCL and OGRA.

The sources also revealed that former PSO MD Sheikh Imran on behalf of M/S EETL, played a vital role in awarding of LNG Terminal-1 at excessive rates and high capacity charges for 15 years including US dollars 272,479/- per day for the first year and US dollars 228,106 per day for the next 14 years.

The NAB Rawalpindi had started investigation against Abbasi, Miftah and others on complaint of Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad.

The sources also disclosed that Miftah, during his four tenures as chairman SSGC Board, approved LNG Service Agreement (LSA) with M/S EETL in April 2014 with commissioning date as 31st March, 2015 despite the fact that LNG deal was not on ground at that time.

Two of the accused - Inter-State Gas System managing director Mobin Soulat and former petroleum secretary Abid Saeed - have become approvers against former premier and recorded their statements to investigation team. Mobin was considered a close aide of former PM Abbasi and he enjoyed his third term as ISGS MD due to Abbasi’s efforts.