Islamabad—The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has taken notice of alleged irregularities in the mega Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal project and initiated an investigation into the matter to ascertain the facts, it was reliably learnt. 

Sources in Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources told Pakistan Observer that NAB has launched an investigation into the alleged corruption in LNG terminal project and forwarded a questionnaire to Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) during the last week. The bureau has asked the state-owned gas utility (SSGCL) to respond to 26 questions mentioned in the lengthy questionnaire. Sources said NAB has also sought all necessary relevant documents and raised objections on tendering, project award and procurement. Petroleum ministry did not fulfil transparency in the project, they added. 

An official at petroleum ministry on the condition of anonymity said: “ The primary question that should be investigated at the highest level is as to who had prepared the request of proposal for terminal construction under which Engro had been selected as the terminal operator.” He added that Mobin Sulat, MD Inter State Gas System remained a key advisor to MPNR in LNG import. 

The sources said that so many irregularities have been committed in the LNG services agreement while transparency was not maintained in the project. They also said that numerous concessions have been granted to ENGRO Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited in the bidding process that’s why NAB has raised serious concerns on the LNG Service Agreement. 

It was also learnt that the SSGCL has submitted its reply with the bureau and handed over all necessary relevant documents of LNG Service Agreement. “In its reply, SSGCL has declined to give concessions to ENGRO Company, a source said, adding,” interestingly, Sui Southern Gas Company in its reply has declared that all conditions of the project even tender of the terminal had been made by Inter State Gas System (ISGS), which works under the petroleum ministry.”

Sources further told this correspondent that NAB has decided to summon Managing Director of ISGS Mobin Sulat. Earlier, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MPNR), in sheer violation of prime minister’s policy to make transparent appointments by publishing advertisement as well as to orders of Supreme Court, extended the tenure of managing director ISGSL (Inter State Gas Systems Limited) for two more years on the same terms and conditions as reward to materialising the LNG agreement as per government’s sweet will.

According to notification issued on November 27, 2014 petroleum ministry with the approval of competent authority has extended the tenure of appointment of Mobin Sulat, Chief Executive/Managing Director/ISGSL with effect from 27th November on existing terms and conditions. Surprisingly, extension has been granted despite the fact that all public sector companies appointments are required to be made through open competitive recruitment pursuant to the Supreme Court of Pakistan orders.

Mobin Saulat was appointed as MD ISGSL during the previous political regime. He has been unable to conclude the transaction of any of the gas import projects since last several years despite tall claims, particularly the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan- India) project. The TAPI gas project concession agreement may get signed by 2017 at the earliest while the imports will not start prior the 2020 even though Sulat has been painting a rosy picture to the government in respect of early gas imports.

Sources in power corridors said that incumbent regime might face music with the start of investigation by NAB into the LNG terminal project. 

Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited is a 100% owned subsidiary of the company, which has been created to establish and operate a terminal for the handling, regasification, storage, treatment and processing of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) , Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG), Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) and all other related liquids, gases and chemical & petroleum products.

The Federal Cabinet has approved import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and a LNG terminal to be constructed in Port Qasim Karachi. In line with the approval, LNG Services Agreement (LSA) has been signed between SSGC and Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited (ETPL).

Engro Corporation Limited is a publically listed company incorporated in Pakistan under the Companies Ordinance, 1984. The company is engaged in the business of managing investments in subsidiary companies and joint ventures, engaged inchemical fertilizers, PVC resin manufacturing, food, energy, exploration, LNG and liquid chemical terminal and storage businesses. The registered office of the company is located in Karachi. The shares of the company are quoted on the Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad Stock Exchanges of Pakistan.

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