During Thursday’s hearing of the rental power projects case, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said the national exchequer was plundered through corruption in the projects.

A three-judge bench of the apex court heard the case.

According to a private television channel, the chief justice said in spite of the court’s directives, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had failed to initiate proceedings against those involved in the corruption.

During the hearing, petitioner Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat told the bench that the NAB had failed to implement the court’s order in its entirety.

He further said that the NAB had also allowed the Karkay, a 232MW Turkish ship-mounted power plant, to sail out of Pakistan.

Hayat said the Karkay plant, which was anchored at Port Qasim, had been allowed to leave without repaying Rs22 billion and requested the bench to probe the matter.

The counsel for the NAB told the bench that the concerned Turkism firm would have to return $17.20 million and that the NAB was active in that regard.

Responding to which, Justice Gulzar remarked that the NAB was quoting one figure whereas Hayat was quoting another. The judge inquired as to why the difference between the two figures was so stark.

Moreover, the chief justice asked why the bureau was “afraid of initiating proceedings against the responsible parties” when the court had already directed it to do so.

Chief Justice Iftikhar further said that the NAB’s role pertaining to action against the involved parties was negligible, adding that, if the NAB could not take action, the matter could be handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

He remarked that if the concerned firms failed to make the requisite payments, those payments would have to be made by the bureau.

Subsequently, the bench directed the NAB to submit a statement under oath pertaining to the sailing away of the Karkay power plant out of Pakistan.

The bench further ordered the NAB to proceed against the parties involved in the “scandal” and adjourned the hearing to Nov 12.