September 24, 2021

Fraudulent sale of coal reference: ATC records statements of accused

'NAB Head office'

Fraudulent sale of coal reference: ATC records statements of accused

KARACHI Aug 25,2021- The Accountability Court -1 Karachi recorded the statements of two more accused recorded on Wednesday’s hearing in the reference of fraudulent sale and purchase  of coal.

Gohar Ullah, director of Fateh Textile Mills, Hyderabad and former president of the Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and others, for illegal extraction of coal and its sale that caused Rs2.24 billion loss to the national exchequer.

The statements of the other accused will also be recorded at the next hearing. So far statements of 6 out of 10 accused have been recorded.

Then MPA Faqir Dad Khoso, former secretary to the chief minister Sohail Akbar Shah, former directors of mines and mineral development Manzoor Hussain Memon and Abdul Rasheed Solangi, Goharullah and others are accused in the case.

According to prosecution the corruption of the accused caused a loss of more than Rs 2 billion to the national exchequer.

The reference hearing was adjourned until September 7.

NAB filed the reference in 2016, against Gohar Ullah, director of Fateh Textile Mills, Hyderabad, for illegal extraction of coal and its sale that caused Rs2.24 billion loss to the national exchequer.

The National Accountability Bureau had booked MPA Faqir Dad Khoso, former secretary to the chief minister Sohail Akbar Shah, former directors of mines and mineral development Manzoor Hussain Memon and Abdul Rasheed Solangi, former president of the Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Goharullah and six others for allegedly granting permission to a coal-mining company to excavate and sell coal in the open market in violation of the agreement and lease deed, causing a loss of around Rs2.5 billion to the national exchequer.

In August 2017, the Judge of accountability court-I read out the charges against the accused persons, who pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the charges.

According to NAB, the Sindh Coal Authority had leased out 8,626 acres in 2006 for mining at Lakhra in Jamshoro to M/s Fateh Textile Mills Ltd (FTML) (Goharullah and some others were its directors), to install a 200MW power plant within a five-year period, but it failed to establish the plant within the period and subsequently the lease was cancelled.

It maintained that FTML did not make any investment to set up power plants but illegally sold tonnes of coal in the open market, adding that as per terms of the memorandum of understanding signed between FTML and the provincial authorities, the mining firm was required to determine whether suitable quality and quantity of coal could be mined, handled, washed and transported to the site of power plants to produce 200MW electricity.

NAB further said that the then director general of the SCA, Syed Abbas Ali Shah, had inspected the site where the washing plant was to be installed. He had observed that FTML was not serious at all in establishing a modern or semi-modern coal washing plant and a coal-fired power plant and, therefore, had recommended the cancellation of the agreement.

However, Sohail Akbar had communicated to the SCA’s DG that he had received verbal directions from the chief minister to allow the FTML to excavate coal for the washing plant and sell the surplus until the plants were set up, it added.

NAB further alleged that all the accused in connivance with one another sold the extracted coal in the open market in utter violation of the agreement and the lease deed, causing losses of Rs2.503bn to the national exchequer.