Mega Corruption in Golenn Gole Hydro Power Project Chitral

3 Aug

By Sajjad Shaukat

Various forms of corruption have infected almost every sector of the country in such a way that it has now become a national problem.

After the massive leak of the secret documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, the question of rampant corruption in Pakistan has again come into limelight, as the disclosed papers include the names of several Pakistanis, including the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and some other politicians who made millions of dollars of investments in the offshore companies and thus, were involved in tax evasion, fraud, and money laundering. Leaked documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama had showed the prime minister’s three children–sons, Hassan and Hussain, and his daughter, Maryam, among other world leaders owned, at least three offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.

As the government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rejected the draft of the Terms of Reference (TORs), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) decided to launch anti-corruption campaign against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which will starts on August 7, this year and will be followed by Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT)’s countrywide campaign against the Model Town tragedy of August 6, as PAT Chairman Tahirul Qadri announced on July 31, 2016. Earlier, he also criticized the ruling party’s leaders in relation to corruption.

PTI quarters say protest rallies will continue until the government accepts the opposition parties’ Terms of Reference (TORs) to probe the Panama Leaks.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) also decided to start a campaign of protest against the ruling party in connection with the Panama files.

Earlier, all these opposition parties have also demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. They pointed out that Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundar Davio Gunnlaugsson and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned in wake of protests and political pressure inside their countries regarding the revelations of the Panama Papers. British Prime Minister David Cameron had faced increasing calls to resign after he admitted that he profited from his father’s offshore trust. Investigations about allegations of corruption have started against several politicians and businessmen in various countries.

Nevertheless, corruption has become a national issue in Pakistan. Besides corruption in other projects, mega corruption in Golen Gole Hydro Power Project Chitral (GGHP) is of particular attention.

The project of GGHP to produce 108 MV electricity was started in 2011 and was supposed to be completed on January 31, 2015. Due to corrupt and unqualified staff, the project cost increased from Rs 7.035 to 28 billion and completion delayed till May 2018. The project will not be completed in this revised cost and time frame.

The progress on various aspects of the Golen Gole Hydro Power Project Chitral (GGHP) project is as under: –

Project
Completion Date
Progress

Construction of Tunnel
31 Jan 2015
49%

Construction of Power House
3 Dec 2014
49%

ESM Works
18 Jun 2016
15%

Installation of Transmission Lines
from Golen Gole Chitral to Chukiatan Dir Upper (113Kms)
10 Apr 2016
14%

Installation of Transmission Lines
from Chukiatan Dir Upper to Chakdara Dir Lower (198 Kms)
12 Sep 2016
0.65%

The contract of both transmission lines has been given to NETRACON company which is owned by an Ex-WAPDA employee Retd XCN Syed Ali Asghar Shirazi.

The transmission lines have not been properly designed as per international standard with the help of software program assuring 50 years life span. The substandard design has caused a delay and abnormal increase in cost by 38% (Rs 1.343 billion) and 17% (0.25 billion) respectively in both lines.

The electric towers which were approved in contract are not being installed on ground.

Mr. George (Project Manager Consultant FICHTNER) is not well qualified and experienced, but is getting pay package of more than Rs. 5 million. Mr. Usman Hamid Malik being country representative of FICHTNER consultant and present CEO Pakistan Industrial Trading Corporation (PITCO) favoured him in his appointment. He caused more than Rs. 11 billion loss to the project due to his ineligibility.

The contractors are delaying projects intentionally and claiming this delay as Extension of Time (EOT) with the help of consultant (Mr. George) and claiming more money rather than paying fine.

However, several individuals, namely Mr. Saleem Qureshi Qureshi GM North, WAPDA House Peshawar, Mr. George, Project Manager Consultant FICHTNER, Mr. Muhammad Shoaib Iqbal Member Water GGHPP, Mr. Mir Zaman Khan, Syed Ali Asghar Shirazi owner NETRACON, Retd XCN WAPDA, Mr. Usman Hamid Malik, CEO of PITCO and Country Head FICHTNER Consultancy, Mr. Sardar Bahadur, Resident Engineer Consultant FICHTNER, Mr. Masood, Project Manager NETRACON and Mr. Shakeel Durrani, Ex-Chairman WAPDA are involved in the corruption and delay of the project of GGHP.

It is notable that during his last visit to Chitral, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave clear instructions to WAPDA authorities to complete the project by Oct 2017. However, even if it is managed it will not sustain more than 3 months like Nandipur power project.
While, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ignored the facts that the unqualified staff and contractors are causing loss of more than 20 million per day to the government.

In this regard, The WAPDA authorities knew that the design of project is faulty and will not be completed in given time and further increase the cost, while, Ex-Chairman WAPDA Mr. Shakeel Durrani remained quiet on this issue.

As a matter of fact, the progress of the work on project to-date is 40% and its projected cost till completion may reach from initial Rs 7.035 billion to Rs 34-35 billion.

Nevertheless, various forms of corruption such as tax-evasion, money laundering, bribery, illegal obligation, nepotism, illicit capital movement etc. are being practiced by the individuals, belonging to both private and public sectors. Besides lack of any appropriate mechanism to control the corruption which is also largely due to lax enforcement of capital and trade controls by regulatory bodies also result into corruption.

Owing to avoidance of paying their fair share of taxes by wealthy individuals and elected politicians in Pakistan, the burden is shared by the ordinary citizens. Sadly, for now anyway, not all these people are the role models they should be.

Now, enough tax has been raised, but not to fully finance improvements in the quality of life for poor people, as many people in Pakistan live below the poverty line.

Definitely, it cannot be good for Pakistan that the elite can afford luxury cars and foreign trips, but cannot afford to pay their real taxes, while concealing their actual assets. In wake of lack of transparency, the government has also failed in implementing any mechanism to discourage corruption in Pakistan—the more open and transparent process will provide less opportunity for malfeasance and abuse.

Nonetheless, mega corruption in Golen Gole Hydro Power Project Chitral shows that corruption is being practiced on larger scale in a country like Pakistan which already depends upon foreign debt which has, rapidly, been increasing.

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