By Mahua Venkatesh
New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Islamabad is unlikely to take any action on companies — mainly Chinese firms-involved in high-level corruption in the power sector. A 278-page report by the Committee for Power Sector Audit, Circular Debt Reservation, and Future Roadmap revealed serious violations and discrepancies in the standard operating procedures (SOPs) guiding the independent power producers (IPPs) under the much-hyped China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Many feel that the report will not be made public and no action will be taken against the perpetrators. Reason? Growing involvement and influence of China over Pakistan’s politics and economy. Sources said that discontent among the people of Pakistan is rising with growing dominance of China.
The report pointed out that the Chinese companies have gained unduly from the CPEC projects. While a chunk of the loans has been given bilaterally by Beijing, a part of them has also been directed through the China Development Bank, ICBC China and Bank of China.
The report clearly highlighted that the cost of illegal gains and inefficiencies has to be shouldered by the people of Pakistan. “While the Pakistan authorities are in awe of China and the Chinese, people living in the country are not happy with the growing influence of China. There is discontentment and anger as the brunt has to be borne by the people,” an analyst said.
According to the report, many Chinese firms have made unrealistic and out-of-turn profits through over-invoicing and higher tariff charges compared to the prevailing market rates. Not just that, names of Razak Dawood and Nadeem Babar, both close associates of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, have also come up in the report for having gained from the project.
The report said that the much-touted transmission line project under the CPEC was over 200 per cent costlier than the one which was in India.
“While the committee red-flagged several China-linked power projects, both coal-fired and wind energy, two Chinese coal power producers, Huaneng Shandong Ruyi (HSR) and Port Qasim Electric Power Company Limited (PQEPCL), came in for particular criticism on account of violation of standard procedures and for indulging in malpractices. Both the Chinese producers showed excess set-up costs in order to generate additional profits, and their exceedingly high annual profits were of the tune of 50 to 70 per cent,” an article by European Foundation for South Asian Studies said.
The inquiry report has also exposed how Chinese firms have been involved in bribing important people in Pakistan, including in the Pakistani Army.