Pakistan News

SC gives CM four weeks to answer on Thar coal projects

KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday expressed displeasure over the provincial authorities’ failure to put before it an audit report about embezzlement of funds and illegal appointments in the Sindh Coal Authority (SCA).

A two-judge bench of the SC headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed was hearing a suo motu proceeding based on an anonymous complaint, levelling serious allegations of corruption and illegal appointments against the SCA.

At the outset, Justice Ahmed asked Sindh Advocate General Salman Talibuddin about the audit report. The provincial law officer said he was unaware of any audit report and sought time to come up with a proper reply.

Justice Ahmed expressed resentment over the provincial authorities for not submitting the report and remarked that Rs105 billion was spent in Tharparkar, but still potable water was not available to the people there.

He further said that it was the responsibility of the government to provide basic facilities to the public, but here the authorities could not carry out development projects transparently.

He said that billions of rupees had been misappropriated through the Sindh Coal Authority and the Special Initiatives Department, which was later abolished under a Supreme Court order.

The SC bench sought a reply from the CM within four weeks over the audit report.

After taking suo motu notice of the matter, the Supreme Court had directed the chief secretary in March last year to initiate an inquiry into the project worth billions of rupees and also sought an inquiry report with the record as well as details of the projects.

In October, the SC had ordered a forensic audit of the Thar coal project and also asked the National Accountability Bureau to investigate the matter.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2019

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