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Ogra ex-chief accused of causing Rs83bn loss to exchequer

August 08, 2012


ISLAMABAD, Aug 7: The National Accountability Bureau submitted to the Supreme Court on Tuesday a report in which former chairman of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) Tauqir Sadiq has been accused of causing a loss of Rs83 billion to the national exchequer.

Mr Sadiq is said to be a close relative of PPP’s Secretary General Senator Jahangir Badar.

But a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja and Justice Tariq Parvez rejected the report because of the bureau’s failure to arrest the big fish roaming freely.

The court ordered NAB chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari to submit a concise report with his signature suggesting efforts to recover the Rs83 billion embezzled money and follow-up actions against the people involved.

Justice Khwaja observed that had this money been invested elsewhere it would have improved the country’s economic and social situation.

The money could even be used to retire circular debt of the power sector to end loadshedding.

On Nov 25 last year, the court had declared the appointment of Tauqir Sadiq as Ogra chairman illegal and ordered NAB to investigate corruption cases against him and submit its findings within 45 days.

On Tuesday, NAB’s investigation officer Waqas informed the court that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had, as minister of water and power minister and chairman of the interview board, forwarded documents about Sadiq’s appointment to then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

He said NAB had failed to arrest Sadiq because he kept changing his location and contact. Sadiq might be under protection of the Punjab government because he was currently staying somewhere in the province, the officer added.

The NAB report alleged that Sadiq in collaboration with Member Gas Mansoor Muzaffar Ali and Member Finance Mir Kamal Marri had caused a loss of Rs44 billion to the national exchequer in the form of gas development surcharge. Under his stewardship Ogra also issued licences for opening 306 new CNG stations in 2009-10 and 170 in 2010-11 in violation of a ban imposed by the government in 2008 because of severe gas shortages.

According to the report, Sadiq also increased the benchmark of un-accounted for gas (UFG) from 4.5 to seven per cent against the global practices without explaining the basis and rationale for it which resulted in irrational and unjustified benefits to gas companies. A loss of Rs87.28 million was caused by illegal stay orders in gas theft cases by Mansoor Ali, of which Rs56.46 million is still recoverable.

The report said the exchequer had suffered an estimated loss of Rs22 billion because Ogra increased well-head gas price from $2.80 per mmbtu to $3.9 for Dewan Petroleum Limited.

The NAB officer informed the court that Rs13.27 million had been paid to lawyers to defend Sadiq in a fake degree case.

Referring to relocation of CNG stations, the report said 47 such cases had been entertained illegally for Sadiq and Kamal Marri. Evidence regarding ‘kickbacks/commissions’ has also been collected from agents and frontmen working for Sadiq, Kamal Marri and Mansoor Ali.

The investigation revealed that Mansoor Ali had misused his authority and illegally obtained vehicles from SSGCL and SNGPL for almost two years, causing a loss of Rs3 million to the national exchequer in the form of fuel, driver and depreciation cost.

The hearing was adjourned for August 13.