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ISLAMABAD: Thirty-five high-ranking officials of the Pakistan Steel Mills and several associated trading companies have, in the past five years, been involved in more than 20 cases of corruption, misappropriation and other irregularities, the Senate learnt on Wednesday.

Minister for Production Anwar Ali Cheema informed the Senate that the largest number of cases of corruption and irregularities were registered against Mueen Aftab Shaikh, the former PSM chairman, who faces six cases, and former PSM director, Sameen Asghar, who faces more than eight cases. However, Mr Shaikh and Mr Asghar were charged together in most of the cases.

According to the Forensic Accountancy of PSM 2008-09 and 2010-11, both Mr Shaikh and Mr Asghar had been involved in irregular purchase and procurement of 40,000 to 50,000 mega tons of coal and metallurgical coke, along with other raw materials, at ‘highly’ inflated prices from various suppliers.

They are also implicated in the irregular award of sale contracts and mismanagement of products. Separate charges have been registered against the two concerning sale arrangements for PSM products and various finished items.

Mr Shaikh is already under trial for the charges against him, Mr Cheema explained.

Because Mr Asghar is a federal official, the FIRs registered against him are referred to the government’s Establishment Division for disciplinary action.

The PSM general manager, Mohammad Masood, was charged in 2009 with three cases of mismanagement of production items, and found guilty in all the three.

Investigation into the irregularities at PSM revealed that nine other officials were not guilty of the acts they had been charged with.

In 2010, however, FIRs were registered against eight trading companies, alleging that the companies were favoured in violation of the industry’s rules and regulations, and those cases are still pending.

In response to a question from Senator Mohammad Talha Mehmood, of the JUI, Mr Cheema clarified that the PSM's accounts were regularly audited.

“The auditors have given us reports between 2007-08 and 2010-11, detailing irregularities and corruption,” he said.

Holding a file containing names of the senior officials facing the charges, he said that “necessary actions” had been taken against the personnel involved.

Despite the auditing, however, the senators were told that several questions remain unanswered.

“No one has been held responsible for the loss of Rs7.15 billion from the sale of steel products below their price,” said the minister for production.

Similarly, the extension of a free credit facility to selective dealers caused the PSM a loss of Rs664.6 million, and the company lost a further Rs4.025 million in awarding a contract for the sale of waste material.

In fiscal 2008-09, material losses at the PSM cost the company Rs158.8 million, and there were separate financial losses totalling over three million rupees.

All these cases remain unresolved. In some of these cases, the personnel involved had retired before investigations began, while some had died.

Comments (6) Closed

I. Ahmed Feb 07, 2013 10:09pm
Why CJ? Selling a production setup at 40% of price only points to corruption and nepotism. The decision of SC was right. Will you ever sell your own asset at such a loss?
Cyrus Howell Feb 07, 2013 04:45pm
It is very addictive working in steel mills. It gives the workers a sense of accomplishment. People must realize that a mill operating open hearth furnaces can never really be profitable. The Bessemer open health process is a 19th century technology. It is not even a 20th century technology. The basic oxygen plant with a continuous casting system is 20th century technology (used in Japan, the US and Sweden). Ford Motor Company operates it's own BOP Shop at River Rouge in Detroit. . The problem is not many companies want to make the investment in new mills. There in lies the rub. Pakistan's steel mills are out of date. I was an industrial engineer at US Steel's Gary Works in Northwest Indiana, the largest steel mill in the Western hemisphere. The way Pakistan produces primary steel is just not profitable enough. The money is in the secondary steel fabrication. Your mills are run by the government because steel production is a vital industry for the military.
Iqbal khan Feb 08, 2013 02:33am
All accused are the perfect candidates for Prime Minister Position.
Tanwir Hasan Feb 07, 2013 03:14pm
Such corruption will continue unless PSM is sold out to a private steel making group. Nowhere in the world including Russia and China steel plants are run by government. Chief Justice of Pakistan is responsible for all losses to Steel Mill as he overturned decision of sale of Steel Mill in 2006.
MJ Feb 07, 2013 04:07pm
Replace Steel Mills with any other entity such as PIA or railways and you can write the same story of immeasurable corruption and mismanagement of assets. Just the names of the key players will change. Sometimes I wonder if there will ever be an end or decline to the trend of corruption in our country without capital punishments being handed out.
Mujahid Tabrez Qadri Feb 08, 2013 02:28pm
If Pakistan Steel has been a profitable organization in the past and there have been no mega corruption cases in the past, then why can it not be like that again. It is a national asset and if it has to be privatized after all it should not be privatized at through away price. If Supreme court is responsible for the losses suffered by Pakistan Steel, then who is responsible for the losses suffered by PIA, Railways, etc.