ISLAMABAD: After hiding from the law for over eight months, the main character in a Rs82 billion scam — former chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) Tauqeer Sadiq — has been arrested in Abu Dhabi with the help of Interpol, a senior official of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) said on Wednesday.
A NAB insider said a team was leaving for Abu Dhabi on Thursday to obtain custody of Sadiq. He is expected to be brought to Pakistan ‘in 48 hours’. The accused was arrested by International Police (Interpol) which has informed NAB about it.
The official said after pressure was put by the Supreme Court, NAB had requested Interpol two weeks ago to arrest Sadiq who was reported to have escaped to Dubai.
On Dec 27, the then IG of Punjab Chaudhry Habibur Rehman informed the apex court that the accused had escaped to Dubai.
Arrest warrants for Sadiq were issued in May last year and since then NAB, Punjab police and the Federal Investigation Agency had launched a manhunt for him. A section of media had said he had taken refuge in the presidency while others said he was hiding in Governor’s House in Lahore. Several raids were conducted for his arrest but without success.
NAB filed a reference against Sadiq and three other officials of Ogra — member gas Mansoor Ali Muzaffar, member finance Mir Kamal Farid Bijarani Muree and Jawad Jamil, staff officer to the former chairman. They are accused of misusing authority and embezzling funds, causing a loss of Rs82 billion to national exchequer by converting Ogra’s operating (regular) income into non-operating income, in violation of an agreement signed with the Asian Development Bank and World Bank, relocation of several CNG stations and making illegal appointments.
On Nov 25 last year, the Supreme Court in a separate case declared the appointment of Sadiq as Ogra chairman illegal. It ordered NAB to investigate corruption charges against him and submit its findings in 45 days.
The court had observed that five people, including Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, were involved in illegal appointment of Sadiq who is said to be a close relative of PPP Secretary-General Jehangir Badar.
The apex court had asked the authorities concerned how Sadiq had managed to escape if his name was on the Exit Control List and in the presence of CCTV cameras at airports.
According to media reports, the former Ogra chief had recently written a letter to the cabinet committee investigating NAB’s allegations that the country was losing billions of rupees every day because of corruption. In the letter, Sadiq said he had been made a victim of “such baseless allegations which are hard to substantiate”.