SC acts against shady rental plant deal
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered the Walters Power International (WPI) and its associate headed by Iqbal Z. Ahmed on Tuesday to submit on Wednesday a statement that it was returning $11.28 million, along with interest, that it had received as 14 per cent advance mobilisation funds for installing rental power plants in Naudero and Guddu.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday has take notice of allegations that the WPI is shifting a low quality equipment LM-5000, which originally belongs to the 110MW Guddu plant, to install at the Naudero-II project after dismantling it.
Meanwhile, a knowledgeable source has said the WPI management has returned Rs300 million to the government to avert any adverse action by the Supreme Court.
The issue of relocation of the equipment surfaced when the company filed in Nepra a petition seeking a fresh tariff for the Naudero-II project.
The government had already paid $11.28 million in April this year as 14 per cent advance for the project and $10.15 million for the same machinery for the Guddu plant.
The WPI had entered into a contract with the government for completing the $52 million gas-fired power plant of 51MW at Naudero-II while working on a second project of $70 million in Guddu.
Advocate Shahid Hamid, the counsel for WPI, sought more time to consult the company’s president David Walters in the US for the return of the principal amount and mark-up.
He said David Walters, a US citizen and former Oklahoma governor, held millions of shares in the power sector and was not involved in any corruption.
The court allowed the counsel to consult his client and submit a statement about the return of the amount, along with interest.
Advocate Shahid conceded that usually equipment were never relocated, but said it had been done under a mutual contract through a renovation in October.
PML-Q leader Faisal Saleh Hayat said the company should be held responsible for violating the contractual agreement with the government.
The chief justice said it was not a job of the court, but recalled that the main case about alleged corruption in rental power projects was still pending with the court on which it would deliver a verdict.
“We have already announced our charter the other day by saying people will get tired of taking bribes, but the court will not be tired of taking suo motu notices on such matters,” the chief justice said.