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ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court on Tuesday acquitted former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and eight other accused in Pirangheb Rental Power Project case.

The Accountability Court judge, Muhammad Bashir, while announcing the reserved verdict, acquitted Ashraf and eight others including former finance minister Shaukat Tareen, former managing director of the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) Ismail Qureshi, former PECO managing director Tahir Bashir Cheema and former members of PEPCO Saleem Arif, Chaudhry Abdul Qadeer, Iqbal Ali Shah and Wazir Ali.

Ashraf and others had filed acquittal applications under the NAB Amendment Ordinance, 2019.

The court observed that no losses had been incurred to the national exchequer, and the prosecution failed to prove the charges of misuse of authority.

NAB had accused Ashraf of misusing his authority during his tenure as the minister for water and power to obtain approval from the Economic Coordination Committee and the federal cabinet for an increase in the down payment to rental power companies from seven percent to 14 percent, amounting to about Rs22 billion.

The bureau had filed 12 RPP references including the Turkish ship-mounted power plant (Karkey), Piranghaib power plant, Multan, Sahiwal power plant, Guddu power plant in Sindh, Naudero-I power plant in Sindh, Naudero-II power plant in Sindh, Reshma Power Generation in Raiwind, Young Gen Power Ltd, Bhikki, Gulf Rental Power Pvt Ltd, 150MW Sharaqpur RPP and Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco).

Out of the 12 cases, the Accountability Court Islamabad has acquitted Ashraf and others in two cases, Multan, Sahiwal power plant and Piranghaib power plant, while the Accountability Court Lahore acquitted Ashraf and others in the Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) case.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020