NAB raises questions over treatment of LNG as petroleum product

NAB seeks information regarding ‘illegal’ award of LNG tender to ETPL from OGRA

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has sought from Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to provide relevant law and record relating to treatment of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as petroleum product and whether the LNG is a gas or petroleum product, said sources.

NAB has currently been engaged in an inquiry against former prime minister, minister for petroleum and natural resources, concerned secretary and others regarding ‘illegal’ award of LNG tender to ETPL.

In a letter to Joint Executive Director (LPG/LNG) Imran Akhtar, dated November 22, 2018 has sought information from OGRA under section 19 and 27 of National accountability Ordinance, 1999 and requested OGRA to submit the required information by November 27, 2018, read the NAB letter.

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A copy of NAB letter available with Pakistan Today disclosed that NAB has sought from OGRA to provide information whether LNG is a gas or a petroleum product? Relevant law and record relating to treatment of LNG as ‘petroleum product’ and its current status with respect to calculation of price of LNG?

NAB has also sought particulars of OGRA Chairman/Chairperson since 2013 till date along with complete personal file of OGRA Chairperson Ms Uzma Adil. NAB has also demanded particulars of officers who remained associated with respect to licensing of LNG terminal-I to ETPL etc. Minutes of meetings of OGRA relating to LNG terminal-I of ETPL, said NAB letter.

Shahid Sattar, an energy expert, earlier had filed a complaint with NAB against the management of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGCL), Engro and others regarding LNG contracts. It has been alleged that tender for the award of LNG import and distribution work has been illegally awarded to ETPL and from 2013 till date the offence is being committed.

On finding a complaint, NAB initiated the inquiry on July 29, 2015, against the management of SSGCL, ENGRO and others regarding the award of LNG contracts in 2013 to ETPL and others. NAB director general (Karachi) authorised an investigation into the matter. The gist of allegations/offences committed by accused was that they had caused loss to the national exchequer by extending favour in the tender of LNG terminal and payment against LNG gasification.

It is important to note that although more than three years have passed, yet, the inquiry regarding the award of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) contract and billion rupees payment to the Elengy Terminal Pvt. Ltd (ETPL) is still in the doldrums. The contract was allegedly signed in the violation of rules, causing a huge loss to the national exchequer.

NAB investigation officer who conducted the inquiry into the award of LNG contract to ETPL and billion rupees payment by SSGCL to ETPL has submitted an interim report to the NAB headquarters. The report recommended formal inquiry. But still, the names of the alleged accused involved in the mega corruption scandal have not been placed on Exit Control List (ECL) and are under process, even though NAB authorised inquiry on July 29, 2015.

Former petroleum minister and prime minister Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi, former petroleum secretary Abid Saeed, Inter-State Gas Systems Pvt Ltd (ISGS) Managing Director Mobin Saulut, Sui Southern Gas Company Limited former MD Zuhair Ahmed Siddiqui, and Engro Pvt Ltd CEO Emranul Haq were involved in the award of the LNG contract.

Through the misuse of authority in awarding LNG terminal by violating the Pakistan Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Rules, and billions rupees payment to the ETPL for LNG gasification is estimated to cause a loss of $2 billion (approximately) in 15 years, said NAB inquiry report.

NAB inquiry report has further pointed out that though SSGCL was not a procuring agency, however, it has signed LSA with ETPL as an operator. Similarly, there was no signing between SSGCL and Sui Nothern Gas (SNGPL) which authorised the SSGCL to act on the behalf of the SNGPL.

More, SSGCL paid around Rs4 billion in approximately 130 days to the ETPL against the capital investment of 12 or 13 billion only. “At this rate, the capital investment of ETPL shall be recovered in 14 months and rest 13 years will the profit of ETPL. This aspect is further requested to be investigated in details,” NAB report said.

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Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is an investigative journalist. He can be reached at [email protected].
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