ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought report from PEPCO, GENCO and Secretary Ministry of Water and Power on the Nandipur and the Chichuki Maliyan power projects case to ascertain what action was taken against those who caused loss of Rs 113 billion to national exchequer by delaying necessary approval for the projects.

Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Khawaja Asif had filed petition urging the court to pin down those responsible for delaying in execution of the projects. Consequently a single member commission of former Justice Rehmat Hussain Jafri was formed who ruled in its 94 pages report that negligence was on the part of executive authorities of the federal law ministry that caused delay in completion of the projects.

He held that delay in installation of 425-megawatt combined cycle power plant in Nandipur (Gujranwala) and 595MW Chichuki Maliyan power project had caused a loss of Rs 113 billion to national kitty.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heading a three-member bench, expressed annoyance over absence of former Federal Law Minister Dr Babar Awan and Secretary Masood Chistti who were summoned during last hearing to appear before the court.

At the outset of the hearing, the chief justice observed that courts are not to arrest anybody but Federal Investigation Agency could be directed to take action against them, adding that federal law ministry should serve them notices to appear before the court.

Lawyer for PEPCO and GENCO Abbas Mirza told the bench that shippers have sent document against site LC saying banks have also not released funds because of non issuance of bill of lading. He also submitted that negotiations with the Chinese company were under way to revive the project contract.

Expressing annoyance over the poor performance of the concerned authorities to contemplate court orders for civil and criminal actions to recover huge national exchequer losses the bench observed that all depend upon intentions of the concerned officials to show progress otherwise nothing could be done.

The chief justice said that no progress has been made in the instant matter and asked the counsel for PEPCO and GENCO Abbas Mirza to put a categorical statement before the court pertaining to the completion of whole exercise so far.

“Prima facie we think a considerable loss to the national kitty was done whereas no serious progress was shown even knowing the fact that country is passing through the energy crisis,” the chief justice stated in the order.

The petitioner, MNA Khawaja Asif contended that machinery of the projects lying in the Karachi port has become scrap now, adding that earlier the executive authorities impeded the contracts of the projects for vested interests.

He further pointed out that currently the concerned authorities were trying to save those behind the law ministry that did not clear the issuance of sovereign guarantee of the finance ministry to the contractors of the projects. He reiterated that estimate of losses mentioned in the report encompassed the past three years and if two years prior to the period were accounted for as well then the losses would amount to nearly Rs150 billion.

Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh observed, “There are no free lunches in the world so there would be consequence of not materialising the Nandipur and Chichu Ki Maliyan power projects.”

Later, the hearing was adjourned till November 8.