NAB sees violation of law in former PSO MD’s appointment

Published December 9, 2018
Report furnished to apex court says appointment by previous government was based on favouritism and personal friendship. — File
Report furnished to apex court says appointment by previous government was based on favouritism and personal friendship. — File

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has found blatant violation of laws and rules and general principles of honesty, transparency and fairness in the appointment of Shiekh Imranul Haq, former managing director of the Pakistan State Oil (PSO), by the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government.

In a report furnished before the Supreme Court, the anti-corruption watchdog stated: “During the course of inquiry, evidences showed that the appointment of former PSO MD Sheikh Imranul Haq was illegal and was not made in a transparent manner.”

While hearing a case pertaining to exorbitant/unreasonable taxing, cess, duty and fee on petroleum products, a three-judge SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, had directed the bureau to inquire into appointments of officers who were drawing Rs1.5 million or more as their monthly salary.

On July 1, the caretaker government had increased petrol price by Rs7.54 to Rs99.50 per litre whereas the diesel price went up by Rs14 to Rs119.3. Similarly, kerosene price was increased by Rs3.36 to Rs87.7. As the price surge raised quite a furore among the general public, the SC took suo motu notice and initiated legal proceedings. Subsequently, the caretaker cabinet in another meeting on July 7 reduced the prices of petrol by Rs4.26 per litre to Rs95.24 from earlier Rs99.50. The price of high speed diesel was dropped by Rs6.37 per litre to Rs112.94 per litre.

Report furnished to apex court says appointment by previous government was based on favouritism and personal friendship through a tailor-made ad

After completing an inquiry into the appointments in the state-owned oil marketing company, NAB explained that Sheikh Imranul Haq as acting PSO MD received monthly salary of Rs4.95 million, whereas PSO’s deputy managing director (finance) Yaqoob Sattar was getting a hefty package of Rs2.76 million per month. The bureau alleged that the remuneration package of Mr Haq was not duly approved by the competent authority.

The NAB report stated that Mr Haq’s appointment was based on favouritism and personal friendship through a tailor-made advertisement, as he had no experience in the field of oil marketing. The appointment was made without any assessment and competition with other shortlisted candidates, it stated.

According to the bureau, evidence and record showed that there were blatant violation of laws and rules and general principles of honesty, transparency and fairness set by the SC for the appointment of managing director or chief executive officer in a public sector enterprise.

Besides, the report said, there were evidences that Mr Haq had a conflict of interest with the PSO due to an LNG agreement with his ex-employer (Engro Corporation). It also alleged that he misused his authority as MD by promoting Mr Sattar to the position of deputy managing director within a month of assuming charge. The anti-corruption watchdog stated the ministry of petroleum and natural resources was kept out of the loop and no internal competitive process, which was a mandatory requirement, was followed, adding the promotion also appeared to be based on personal friendship as Yaqoob Sattar had ratified the pay package of Mr Haq just before joining and both of them had been colleagues in Engro Corporation.

The bureau report informed the apex court about the statements of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former petroleum minister, former petroleum minister secretary Arshad Mirza and joint secretary Syed Toufeeq Shah. All of them were sent questionnaires and called by NAB through notices. During the course of inquiry, NAB also seized a number of documents namely original note sheet regarding the appointment of MD-PSO, correspondence file, original note sheet, letter received from the prime minister office, personal file and pay slips, articles of association and memorandum of association of PSO, recruitment record etc.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2018

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