NAB issues summons to Progas deal accused


ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has issued summons to the accused in the case pertaining to the purchase of the Progas Pakistan Limited (PPL) assets by the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL), which caused a huge loss to the national kitty, sources told Daily Times on Sunday.
Sources further revealed that the former managing director of the SSGCL Azim Iqbal Siddique and the incumbent MD, Zohair Siddique misled the gas utility company board by saying that the PPL assets purchase would lead to a profit of Rs 1,600 million in the financial year 2011-12. The management of the SSGCL, including Zuhair Siddique MD, Yousaf J Ansari, Syed Arslan Iqbal, Irafan Zafar, Rahat Kamal, Azam Akhtar, Madni Arfat, Shahid Jaffery, Usman and former SSGCL MD Azim Iqbal Siddique besides Abass Hyder Bilgrammi chief executive PPL, Muhammad Tenvir Makhdomi, Ghalib Jalees Secretary PPL and Dr Ali Allawi Member and Debenture of PPL were summoned by the federal watchdog for further interrogation and investigation the sources added.
Similarly, NAB has recorded the statements of PPL Director Umer Saboor, Arslan Iqbal Abbass GM Finance SSGCL, Abbass Bilgrami of PPL and Sohail Qureshi of SLL, a subsidiary of the SSGCL, the sources said. The PPL owners have initiated arbitration proceedings against the government on the grounds that due to the interference and policies of some government organisations, the PPL was rendered unable to carry on a profitable business of LPG in Pakistan. That the policies of government had an effect equivalent to nationalisation or expropriation of the assets and investments of PPL the sources added.
Earlier, the NAB had initiated an inquiry into the lease, liquidation and purchase of bank defaulter PPL company assets by the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited management, which entered into a over $550 million deal without considering colossal financial blow to the national kitty. On the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif the federal watchdog has kicked off investigation against the officials of the SSGCL who managed the purchase of PPL in connivance with its chief executive, Abass Haider Bilgrami, without any due diligence, sources added. 
According to sources, the PPL assets were purchased in 2011 by the SSGCL management while ignoring the fact that in 2010 the owner of the PPL had served a legal notice on the federation of Pakistan. In its legal notice the company, through its lawyers, has alleged that the government in contravention of its promises of de-regulation of the LPG sector, the government and its regulator, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) intervened to manipulate LPG pricing for the advantage of local LPG companies, the sources added. 
According to reports, the SSGCL management purchased the Progas assets as sole bidder and paid Rs 2.5 billion to the banks which have the decree against it as a defaulter gas company while accepting the self-tailored evaluation by the Progas owners that the value of the company assets is around Rs 6 billion against secured and unsecured liabilities of Rs 2 billion in May 2011 the sources further said.

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