Ogra scam: NAB executive board approves two references

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 8:04:33 by



LAHORE: 

The executive board of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday approved two separate references regarding the multi-billion-rupee Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) scandal – one of which mentions two former premiers among the accused.

According to NAB officials, the first reference approved deals with the illegal appointment of Tauqir Sadiq as Ogra Chairman and names former prime ministers Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (who at the time was the minister for water and power) among the accused. Others accused of involvement in the Ogra chairman’s appointment in the reference are Sadiq himself, former joint secretary cabinet division Sikandar Hayat Mekan, member technical for selection process Shaukat Durrani and selection committee member from Ogra Javed Nazir.

Talking to The Express Tribune, the officials said in addition to his alleged involvement in Sadiq’s appointment, former premier Gilani allegedly played a part in relocating hundreds of CNG stations against Ogra regulations.

Sources familiar with the investigation said as many as 466 directives for the relocation of CNG stations from one site to another were issued under his tenure. They added that relocation was used as a backdoor move to establish new CNG stations after they were banned in 2008.

The second reference approved by the board on Wednesday pertains to corruption in Ogra. It names Tauqir Sadiq, Mansoor Muzaffar Ali, Mir Kamal Mari, Jawad Jameel, Dewan Ziaur Rehman Farooqi, former SNGPL managing director Abdur Rashid Lone, Zohair Siddique, Azeem Iqbal Siddique, Syed Arsalan Iqbal, Mirza Mehmood Ahmed and Yousaf J Ansari among the accused.

An interim reference naming many of the aforementioned accused was filed before an accountability court in November 2012. But while the interim reference estimated losses via graft to be around Rs44 billion, the new reference estimates them to be around Rs76.6 billion. As such, the total losses dealt to the national exchequer through the Ogra scam now stand at Rs120.6 billion.

The developments regarding the two references were confirmed by NAB Spokesperson Muhammad Ramzan Sajid.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2014.



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