February 19, 2014
Recorder: Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) is being accused of Rs 400 million corruption in the 740 MW multi-purpose Munda Dam, to be financed by the European Union (EU), however, no final agreement has been signed so far. The European Union has rejected the design of the project on grounds that in the event of 30 per cent more flooding compared to floods of 2010, the structure of the dam will be impacted. The project”s cost is about $1.4 billion.
This was disclosed at a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee of Water and Power, headed by the Zahid Khan. “The EU has raised objections on the design of the project and termed it faulty,” said Additional Secretary Water and Power. Munda Hydro Power Company Ltd and AMZO, an American company, had filed a civil suit for US $1.2 billion against Wapda, Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and the governments of Pakistan and NWFP. In November 2013, the companies had apprised the Islamabad Court that in May 2004 the Government of Pakistan issued a Letter of Interest to a US Company, M/s Amzo Corporation LLC for carrying out the feasibility study. Later, a special project company, Munda Hydropower Company Ltd, was incorporated.
After investing US $15 million, these companies completed the feasibility studies and submitted these to the Ministry of Water and Power. The companies claimed that the Government instead of allowing the company to complete the next stage in the construction unilaterally handed the project over to Wapda. Ministry of Planning and Development argues that since no agreement has been signed between the EU and Wapda on the project, why was such a large sum spent on it. “Wapda is involved in corruption of Rs 400 million to the national exchequer. This matter should be handed over to NAB or FIA for investigation,” said the official representing the Planning and Development Ministry. Chairman Wapda, Raghab Shah was not available for comments. Munda Dam is a proposed multi-purpose concrete-faced rock-filled dam located on the Swat River approximately 37 km north of Peshawar and 5 km upstream of Munda Headworks in Mohmand Agency of Pakistan”s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
The EU has provided 1.2 million euros as grant to conduct climate change impact assessment study in Swat basin for Munda Dam multipurpose project. A joint venture comprising two renowned firms namely AHT of Germany and Nespak of Pakistan have been appointed as consultants to carry out the studies. Additional Secretary Water and Power further informed the committee that France will extend a loan for Munda Dam after getting a formal approval from the EU. Chairman Senate Standing Committee, Zahid Khan has accused the Ministry of Planning and Development of using delaying tactics in the release of funds for the project. Standing Committee maintained that the Planning Commission is committing a crime by not releasing funds for the project. Acting Chairman Nepra revealed the statistics provided by Iesco reveal that 50 per cent of the poor live in the Iesco jurisdiction. The government is extending Rs 2 per unit subsidy to those consumers who use 50 units in one month.