NAB Summons Hamza Shahbaz in Saaf Pani Company Case

May 11, 2018 — The National Accountability Bureau has summoned Hamza Shahbaz, son of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, regarding the ongoing corruption probe against management of Punjab Saaf Pani Company (PSPC).

The lawmaker has been directed to appear before the anti-graft watchdog on May 18th.  A questionnaire has also been forwarded to him.

According to the notice issued Thursday by the anti-corruption bureau, Shahbaz Jr. is in possession of crucial information about the company in question.

“The inquiry against management/officers/officials of Punjab Saaf Pani Company (South) and others has revealed that you are in possession of information/evidence whatsoever, which relates to the commission of the said offense(s),” the notice stated.

“Moreover, you attended various meetings related to issues pertaining to the affairs of Punjab Saaf Pani Company.” it added.

The notice served on Hamza came a day after Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif was asked to appear before the accountability watchdog on June 4, in the same case.

A source cited by a local daily said the anti-graft body has also sent a questionnaire to the PUnjab Chief Minister who is also the president of ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) party.

Despite Rs4 billion being spent on the Punjab government’s Saaf Pani project, not a single drop of clean water has been made available to the citizens, Punjab Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed had informed the Supreme Court in April.

A two-member bench of the SC, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, has taken up suo motu case regarding alleged irregularities in appointments in the Punjab Saaf Pani Company (PSPC) at its Lahore Registry. Concurrently, NAB is investigating allegations of corruption in the huge project which envisages providing clean drinking water to entire Punjab.

The top court was informed that Rs300 million has so far been spent on the services of foreign consultants, while an estimated amount of Rs150 billion had been allocated for the whole project. 116 plants of clean water have been installed at a cost of Rs4 billion covering only 10 to 12 per cent of Punjab’s population. Most of these plants are reported to be dysfunctional.

Justice Nisar rejected a report on the project submitted by the company’s CEO.

“Everyone will be held accountable; I will ensure that every penny of the nation is returned,” he remarked. He also said that those who appointed people in the project would also be held accountable and be asked to return the spent money.

“So much money was spent on advertising but the project was not completed,” Justice Nisar observed.

He also vowed that undue favors or bribe would not work until the current judiciary is in place.

A report appearing in local daily Dawn last month, said most of these plants, if not all, of these plants started becoming dysfunctional due to lack of an efficient mechanism to maintain them regularly and keep them operational in a cost-effective way. “Many of them went out of service because the government could not pay for the import of replacement filter membranes as regularly as the plants needed. In other cases, the electricity bill to keep them running ran too high to be affordable by a provincial administration that badly needed money for other projects such as a metro bus service for Lahore. Bad engineering, faulty construction and low-quality construction material also contributed to reducing their lifespan.”

The chief minister had earlier appeared before the NAB in Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme case.

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