ISLAMABAD  -   Expediting investigation into the LNG scam, the National Accountability Bureau Saturday expedited former finance minister Miftah Ismail and also recorded his statement in the case.

The former finance minister appeared before the NAB Rawalpindi investigation team on Friday. The NAB team investigated the former minister for more than two hours and also gave him a questionnaire which was comprising 30 questions. The NAB Investigation team directed Miftah to submit reply of the questions within a week.

Last week, the NAB had issued summons of Miftah Ismail Ahmed in the LNG scam in the capacity as former chairman SSGCL Board with the subject “call up notice to the person acquainted with the facts of the case U/S 19 of NA, 1999, inquiry against the authorities including Prime Minister, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, concerned secretary, Management of SUI Southern Gas Company, M/S Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited (EPTL) and others regarding illegal award of LNG tender to ETPL.”

It said whereas the competent authority has taken the cognizance of an offence allegedly committed by Miftah Ismail Ahmad under the provision of NAO 1999.  Whereas the inquiry has revealed that he (Miftah) is in possession of information/evidence regarding award of contract of LNG and LNG sale agreement with EETPL etc which relates to the commission of the said offence.

NAB asked the Miftah Ismail to appear on January 11, 2018 at the National Accountability Bureau Rawalpindi before NAB Investigation Officer for discussion and recording his statement being ex-chairman of SSGC Board on LNG Terminal to ETPL, LSA with EETPL, Tri-Partite Agreement and LNG Import from Qatar etc. It also said that failing to comply with the notice may entail penal consequences as provided in Serial 2 of the schedule of NAO1999.

The NAB Executive Board also converted the LNG inquiry into investigation against Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources  Arshad Mirza, former secretary petroleum, Sheikh Imran-ul-Haq, former MD PSO, Yaqub Sattar, Deputy Managing PSO.

On the other hand, Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB said that NAB gives top priority to mega corruption white collar cases as per law. He said that corruption is mother of all evils as corruption undermines economic development and deprives deserving persons of their due right as per law. He said Pakistan is committed to United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in eradicating corruption through its three pronged Anti Corruption Strategy of Awareness, Prevention and Enforcement.

He said that NAB since its inception received about 3,99,861 complaints from individuals and private / public organizations. During this period, NAB authorised 13,180 complaint verification, 8,587 inquiries, 4,124 investigations, filed 3401 corruption references in respective accountability courts. Currently, 1,211 corruption references are under trial in respective Accountability courts across the country. The figures of complaints, inquiries and investigations are almost double as compared to the same period of 2017 to 2018. The comparative figures for the latest one year are indicative of the hard work being put in by all ranks of NAB staff in an atmosphere of renewed energy and dynamism, where fight against corruption is being taken as a national duty. Increase in the number of complaints also reflects enhanced public trusted in the NAB.

He said that NAB’s prime focus is on cases of cheating public at large by fraudulent financial companies, money laundering, bank frauds, willful bank loan defaults, misuse of authority and embezzlement of state funds by Government servants etc. Since NAB’s inception, one of NAB’s major achievements has been the recovery of around Rs. 297/- billion of ill-gotten money which was deposited in the national exchequer which is a remarkable achievement of NAB. Starting from the year 2017 which can be called basically a year of reinvigoration of NAB, we have moved with new zeal and effort after through detailed introspection and analysis of organizational weaknesses, overhaul of procedures and all pillars of the organization i.e. Operations, Prosecution, Human Resource Development and Awareness and Prevention have been reactivated.