Merit has finally prevailed as some promotions of blue-eyed boys in Pakistan State Oil (PSO) have been taken back after a high-powered committee found evidence of favouritism on a large scale in the whole process of promotion, sources say.
The committee has also noted illegal appointments in the company and has started an investigation. According to sources, some appointments have been made without advertising the posts in the media and action will be taken in this regard.
“Some promotions have been reversed and remaining cases are being evaluated,” an official said, adding the committee had confirmed that most of the promotions were made in violation of rules and regulations.
The committee comprised PSO Board of Management Chairman Suhail Wajahat, Managing Director Naeem Yahya Mir, Petroleum Ministry’s Joint Secretary Hamid Asghar and PSO board’s head of human resource body.
This committee gave a presentation to Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain, who then gave the go-ahead to take action to ensure transparency in the company affairs.
Earlier, several deputy general managers were promoted and made general managers while ignoring senior executives, raising many eyebrows. Some managers were promoted to the post of deputy general manager.
Promotion first and then a test and interview was allegedly the policy followed at PSO, sources alleged.
“A probe is being initiated against the former general manager of human resource for his alleged involvement in illegal promotion cases,” a PSO official said, adding legal advice was being sought from experts about how to take action against him after retirement.
According to the official, some deputy general managers were holding acting charge of general managers and they were also promoted. They were junior officers and were promoted due to political support.
“The committee has found that most of the (promoted) officials lacked required qualification and experience,” the official said, adding some also could not clear the test and interview.
According to rules, a general manager should have 45 years of age, a Masters degree and at least 25 years of experience.
“After the committee’s action, now no officer having Bachelors degree will be appointed to the post of general manager,” the official declared.
Interviews for appointing three general managers were conducted in Karachi recently. “All candidates for the posts of general manager have been rejected and conditional offers have been made for the slots of deputy general manager to two candidates,” the official said.
A US national also tried to get appointment in the company but was rejected due to dual nationality.
When approached, Petroleum Secretary Ijaz Chaudhry said, “I have written to PSO that illegal promotions should be disallowed.”
Giving its comments on the happenings, PSO denied that the promotions had been reversed. Its spokesperson said the company had put in place a three-stage mechanism for promotion. First, the talent and successors are identified by the management through a well-structured appraisal programme, second, all such employees are called for a written test and, third, after passing the two stages, interview and assessment is done by a high-powered selection committee.
“The process is yet to be completed, hence, it is not appropriate to give an outcome at this stage,” the spokesperson said.
About action against the former general manager for human resource, the spokesperson clarified that the GM alone could not take any decision as per approved authority manual. “PSO has set policies and procedures for recruitments and promotions and any decision taken single-handedly cannot be implemented as all processes are subject to audit,” the spokesperson said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2012.