Head of PPIB’s legal department quits

ISLAMABAD: The head of legal department of Priv­ate Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB), Barrister Asghar Khan, tendered his resignation on Monday after developing differences over issues relating to payment of capacity charges worth billions of rupees to independent power producers and transactions about new power projects on coal and liquefied natural gas.

According to sources, Barrister Khan had written a series of dissenting notes on the new power policy, processing of new coal- and LNG-based projects and ‘undue favours’ to IPPs.

An official confirmed that Mr Khan had submitted his resignation some time ago and the PPIB officials tried to dissuade him from leaving. They later persuaded him to tone down the language of the resignation which came into effect on Sept 6. He is reported to have put on record his serious difference with the PPIB management when advices of the legal wing were being ignored.

“From the formulation of the new power policy to the award of projects, LNG, transmission line and coal transactions in the private sector and their implementation the frail legal framework was in place and major risks were being allocated to the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC),” Barrister Khan is reported to have written.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

A spokesman of the ministry of water and power dec­lined to comment on the resignation in which Barrister Khan has also reported to have pointed out “short-sig­hted decisions” which were bound to affect the liquidity of power sector entities. The decisions, according to him, were against the decisions of the Supreme Court and investigations being carried out in the rental power projects case. Mr Khan is reported to have questioned the willingness of the government to allow “deemed capacity payments” to over a dozen IPPs – a right previously suspended by the Supreme Court. Under the arrangement, not only the existing IPPs could be entitled to ‘deemed capacity payments’ of Rs80 billion but could also theoretically lead to Rs200bn ‘deemed capacity payments’ to new projects in the pipeline.

In his farewell email to colleagues, he said: “Today 6th September 2015 is my last day at PPIB after completion of nearly a decade of legal services. It is a coincidence that it is the Defence Day of Pakistan as well, so an auspicious occasion.”

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