Supreme Court suspects foul play in RPP’s deal

rental power projectsISLAMABAD:  Suspecting foul play in the multi-billion dollar deal of rental power projects (RPPs), the Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that rental power companies committed sheer negligence by not importing the required machinery per agreement and it was beyond understanding how these companies were paid huge mobilisation advances without import of power producing apparatus.

A two-member Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain made the observation while hearing a suo motu case coupled with two identical petitions filed by Minister for Housing and Works Faisal Saleh Hayat and PML-N MNA Khawaja Asif involving allegations of massive corruption in RPP contracts.The chief justice noted that some companies started production after the court took notice of the matter. He said it seemed as if the companies were taking high rent for used machinery. Ali Zafar, counsel for Gulf Power Company, told the court that the government made agreement with his client after examining its performance and after that the company shifted all its machinery to Pakistan. He said his client was still not paid the mobilisation advance.

He said the machinery lying at the site was going waste and was less than 10 years old, adding that the Gulf Company was owned by Gulf and Saudi investors, who loved Pakistan. The CJP said investors invested to make profit, not for the love of some country. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, counsel for Reshma Rental Power and Techno E Power, said his clients entered into the agreement after completing due process and then they were paid mobilisation advance. He said the report produced before the court by the counsel for Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA)had termed his clients the best companies, however, further payment was not being made.

He said his clients had completed construction work at the site and the tariff had been estimated at 5.10 cents per unit. However, he said the rental power companies had not been given tax exemption like independent power producers (IPPs), which was discriminatory.Despite all this, he said his clients were ready to pay back the amount of Rs 4 billion, which it received as mobilisation advance, along with the 26 percent mark up.

Najmul Hassan Kazmi, NEPRA counsel, told the court that Reshma Power Project was ineffective and its agreement had expired.Raja Anwarul Haq, counsel for Techno Energy Sahiwal and Sialkot and Techno E Power Faisalabad, told the court that mobilisation advance was taken back from his client on court orders. The chief justice asked him to file a review or contempt of court plea if he wanted to challenge the decision.The counsel for NEPRA said the site was visited at that time and no machinery was found there. He said the case of Raja Anwarul Haq was pending adjudication before the Islamabad High Court. The chief justice then said the apex court would not interfere in some other court’s matters. The proceedings were later adjourned until today (Thursday). – PT