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LAHORE: The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) administration has taken actions against officials after paras of internal audits, conducted in different years, are pointing material theft by the field supervisory staff.

The situation has driven the company - a leading power distribution company of the country with over 4.2 million consumers - to make teams to monitor the supervisory staff during office hours besides imparting trainings to the line superintendents, supervisors, assistant managers etc in order to end or at least minimize such complaints, it is learnt.

“This issue has become a headache for the company, as most of the paras during annual and special audits have pointed out officials’ involvement in material theft or misappropriation,” says a senior Lesco official.

“If there are 100 audit paras, of them 50 surely are related to the material theft allegedly by the field staff, including supervisors, line superintendents and assistant managers etc,” Lesco Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Syed Wajid Ali Kazmi told Dawn on Thursday.

Lesco has 14 circle headquarters - Northern, Central, Eastern, West, Southern, Okara, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Industrial, Construction, Grid System Operations and Street Lights. Similarly, it has over 52 divisions and scores of sub-divisional, field offices, having stores of material, such as cables, wires, poles, insulators, circuit breakers, transformers, meters and electric devices.

Since the company covers a vast area and the second largest metropolitan city - Lahore, the frequent use of material to accomplish jobs is a routine matter.

“Besides departmental action, we have also recovered amounts equaling to the misappropriated material from several officials,” he claimed.

The complaints related to inflated billing come follow the material theft.

He said the material theft was a serious offence and the guilty officials would have to face action as well as pay the embezzled amount.

Monitoring teams will conduct surprise visits to stores and warehouses and check inventory by tallying with the material issued and installed on sites.

“Side by side, we have also started trainings of the field / supervisory staff on receipt, handling and issuance of the material,” the Lesco chief maintained.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2017