NAB nabs Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in LNG case

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LAHORE: In connection with an ongoing investigation into the ‘illegal’ award of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) contract with Qatar, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Thursday arrested former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi near Thokar Niaz Baig toll plaza in Lahore.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has been ‘accused of commission of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices’ by the anti-corruption watchdog.
A joint action was taken against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader by the NAB Rawalpindi and the NAB Lahore. He was accompanied by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif at the time of arrest.
Both leaders were on their way to hold a presser in Lahore.
The NAB will request the accountability court to issue transit remand for Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and he will then be shifted to Islamabad. The accountability bureau had served him four notices to appear before it.
Let it be known that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had skipped the NAB Rawalpindi appearance in a case pertaining to the LNG scandal earlier Thursday.
The erstwhile premier had written a letter to the anti-corruption watchdog and sought time to appear before it. “I received the NAB notice yesterday and it was not possible for me to appear before the bureau on such a short notice.
“Shahid Khaqan Abbasi sought three-day time from the NAB Rawalpindi for appearance.”
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was summoned by the National Accountability Bureau on Thursday (today) in case pertaining to the LNG scandal as the NAB has launched formal investigations against him.
According to the NAB notice, “Shahid Khaqan Abbasi possesses vital information regarding the LNG scandal. The national exchequer suffered loss worth billions of rupees owing to illegal contracts.”
The Pakistan Muslim-League (Nawaz) leader earlier appeared thrice before of the NAB during the inquiry.
The apex court on September 10, 2018 directed the NAB to complete the inquiry against Abbasi and others for the alleged corruption in the LNG contract.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau in light of convincing evidence of his involvement in “corruption and corrupt practices.”
According to the bureau’s document explaining the reason for the PML-N stalwart’s arrest, Abbasi allegedly used his influence to award the contract of the construction of an LNG terminal at the Karachi port to Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited (ETPL), causing a loss to the national kitty. A firm, QED Consulting, was hired to prepare tender documents for the LNG terminal contract.
The services of the firm were hired in lieu of Sui Southern Gas Company for the purpose in gross violation of relevant provisions of Procurement Services Regulations 2010.
Meanwhile, former petroleum secretary Abid Saeed has offered to turn an approver in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import contract case involving Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stalwart and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Sources say Saeed, who has been named accused in the case, has already recorded his statement before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman who has accepted his request to become an approver.
He will now be presented before a judicial magistrate to record his statement in this regard as per the relevant laws.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, blasting Prime Minister Imran Khan and NAB over former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s arrest, lamented on Thursday PML-N leaders are being subjected to political vendetta in the name of accountability.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Shahbaz Sharif said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is being used as a tool for political revenge.
While condemning the arrest of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, he said that the party’s vice president has been arrested on the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The opposition leader said that the NAB officials showed Shahid Khaqan Abbasi WhatsApp before arresting him when he asked for arrest warrants.
Talking a jibe PM Imran Khan, Shahbaz Sharif said that the prime minister has ruined country’s economy in 11 months, adding that those who ruined the country’s economy were hiding their failure behind the arrests being made in the name of corruption.
He said: “The credit of provision of gas to Bhikki and Balloki Power plant goes to the PML-N vice president and Abbasi had played key role in eradication of gas loadshedding.” The PML-N president went on to say that the PML-N and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) were being targeted of political revenge. – NNI