ISLAMABAD: Former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday excused himself from appearing before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after the bureau’s office in Rawalpindi had summoned him with a reply to the questionnaire in connection with an ongoing investigation into the ‘illegal’ award of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) contract with Qatar.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader wrote a letter to the bureau, stating that he could not appear as he was abroad, and made a request to reschedule his appearance after March 17.
Earlier, the NAB had expressed concerns that the answers were to be submitted by Feb 28. Abbasi is being investigated as former minister for petroleum and natural resources.
A questionnaire containing 70 queries had been prepared including: the reason of necessity of the contract, the person who had approved the conditions of the contract, holding the ministry of petroleum while being the prime minister of the state, the number of visits to Qatar for formulating the contract, and how could the contract be signed against rules and regulations and misuse of authority for approval of the contract.
The apex court on September 10, 2018 directed the NAB to complete the inquiry against Abbasi and others for the alleged corruption in the LNG contract.
As the minister for petroleum and natural resources, he has been accused of granting contract on LNG Terminal to ETPL, Tri-partial agreement, LSA with EETPL and LNG import from Qatar etc.
In June 2018, the NAB approved inquiry against former premier Nawaz Sharif and Abbasi, who was the former minister for petroleum and natural resources at that time, in granting contract of LNG terminal for 15 years to their ‘favourite’ company.
It was also observed that this contract had allegedly caused a loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer.
The NAB in January interrogated former finance minister Miftah Ismail in the same case.
According to NAB documents, the contract for the LNG import and distribution was awarded to the Elengy Terminal, a subsidiary of Engro, in 2013 in violation of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules and relevant laws.