ISLAMABAD: Former Supreme Court judge Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed has been nominated as ‘arbitrator’ by the federal government for settlement of a dispute involving over Rs50 billion with a few Independent Power Producers (IPPs) set up under a 2002 policy. A February 8 notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice says that on the request of the Power Division, retired Justice Saeed has been nominated an arbitrator on behalf of the federal government to settle a dispute over alleged excess payments with some independent power producers (IPPs) set up under the Policy for Power Generation 2002.
Likewise, Additional Attorney General Qasim Wadud has been nominated to assist the law firm to be engaged for the arbitration process because he is already involved in negotiations with the IPPs and fully conversant with issues. However, it is not clear what will be the size of the remuneration package the former judge would be getting for any work done.
Mr Wadud said the arbitration process would commence after the selection of a law firm and explained that during the proceedings operational and maintenance costs as well as fuel cost adjustment by a number of thermal-based or Residual Fuel Oil-based IPPs would be looked into.
On Sept 24, 2020, the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) had constituted an implementation committee led by the energy minister to effectuate into formal agreements the revisions in various terms and conditions regarding the IPPs. Mr Wadud was one of the members of the committee.
Justice Saeed was a member of the five-judge Supreme Court bench that had disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on July 28, 2017 in the Panama Papers Leak case.
After retirement as a judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Saeed served as the one-man commission constituted by the government to look into the controversy relating to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the UK-based asset recovery firm, Broadsheet LLC.
Later he was appointed chairman of the Punjab Commission on Irregular Housing Societies by the Punjab government to regularize more than 6,000 illegal housing societies in the province. An informed source, however, says the commission has yet to hold its meeting due to certain anomalies.
In July 2021, the government decided to renegotiate the power purchase agreements to revise earlier agreements with a number of IPPs set up under the 2002 policy and to recover “excess payments” they had secured from the government.
In September 2020, the government claimed to have saved about Rs856bn over a period of ten years on account of renegotiations with the IPPs and change in terms of contracts and closure of public sector power projects.
The CCoE had decided to renegotiate the relevant terms on the advice of NAB for the recovery of about Rs52bn. The committee had also revived an implementation committee led by the finance minister, with the addition of a representative from the Law Division which had concluded agreements with about 47 IPPs in February last year.
On Sept 24, 2020, the CCoE had constituted an implementation committee led by then energy minister Omar Ayub Khan to effectuate into formal agreements the revisions in various terms and conditions.