On Thursday, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former prime minister and vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, in an alleged case of corruption while awarding a multi-billion rupee import contract for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2013, when he was the minister for petroleum and natural resources.
The next day, when Abbasi was presented in an accountability court, the anti-graft body presented the following charge-sheet against him:
Grounds for arrest of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
• Misused authority in selecting consultants for the bidding process, in violation of the Procurement for Consultancy Regulations 2010.
• Misused authority in entrusting LNG-related activities to Inter State Gas Systems (Private) Limited (ISGS) for the establishment of an LNG terminal and not Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) the actual LNG procuring agency.
• Investigation revealed that you misused your authority in getting your hand-picked legal firm, therefore Maverick Advisory, hired during the consultancy process
• Investigation reveal that you malafidely used your influence as minister in the consultation process during the LNG sale agreement to decided in favor of the company [Engro]
• The amount of $272,479 was fixed as an exorbitant capacity charges for the first year to import the LNG from Qatar, while $228,016 was fixed for the next 15 years as per the sole bid of the company
• The set price caused a colossal loss of Rs. 1.544 billion
• Evidence collected so far directly connects you with the offense
• There is a strong likelihood of your abscondance
• There is a likelihood of destruction/disappearance of relevant evidence record
Separate NAB documents detailing the case state the following:
• An existing chemical terminals of Engro Group (a company of Hussain Dawood) was rented at an astronomical cost of Rs. 27 million per day for 15 years
• While, an existing, underutilized LPG terminal was already available at Port Qasim which was equally capable of being retrofitted and used for import/handling of LNG at the cost of only Rs. 30-40 million.
• The hazard associated with one LNG cargo is equivalent to about two dozen nuclear bombs, and thus stringent security and precautionary measures were ignored.
• The illegal LNG purchase was signed between the government of Pakistan and a private Qatari company (Qatar Gas) owned by Khalid bin Khalifa al Thani not the Qatari government.
• Appointed Uzma Adil Khan illegally as the chairperson of OGRA
• Aamer Nasim was illegally appointed as the member of OGRA
• Accepted an incomplete and void, EETPL application or the LNG terminal
• Local gas prices were gradually increased from April 2014 to April 2016 and again from July 2016 to September 2017, resulting in Pakistani gas consumers paying highest price in the region for gas, which itself was purchased from Qatar gas at an exorbitant rate