LAHORE: The Punjab government on Wednesday told Lahore High Court (LHC) that Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) rules did not apply to legislators working as directors of public sector companies on a voluntary basis.
Punjab Additional Advocate General Asma Hamid stated that there had been no violation of rules as the companies fell under provincial government’s ambit. The hearing was then adjourned for Thursday (today), when Hamid will resume her arguments.
At previous hearings, a SECP official had told the court that the appointment of two ruling party MPAs, Ramazan Siddique Bhatti and Kiran Dar, as directors of public sector companies was against the rules. The commission had said that both MPAs had concealed their legislative role in order to get their appointments.
The SECP official further said that rules of the commission did not allow members of the legislative to hold offices of a public sector company. “The appointment of the two MPAs on the board of directors is unlawful under Section 3(7) of public sector corporate governance rules 2013,” he said.
He said that an inquiry had also been initiated against Dar and Bhatti for joining the BoDs of the Lahore Parking Company.
Justice Qureshi had remarked that it was surprising that unlawful acts were committed openly. The judge had directed the counsel for the public sector companies to come up with arguments at the next hearing.
Petitioner Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, the leader of the Opposition in the Provincial Assembly, had said MPA Ramazan Bhatti was one of the LTC’s directors. He had said lawmakers Nasreen Nawaz, Ramazan Bhatti and Kiran Dar were serving as directors of the LPC. Rasheed had said MPAs Kashif Padhiar, Amanullah Khan, Qazi Adnan Fareed, Rana Babar Hussain, Chaudhry Lal Hussain, Mahmood Qadir Khan, Qamarul Islam, and Waheed Gul were directors of the PSPC. He had said MPA Majid Zahoor was serving as one of the directors of the LWMC while MPA Hussain Gardezi was a director of the PAMC.
Rasheed had told the court that the companies were incorporated under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance 1984 and were owned by the provincial government. He had said the MPAs were serving as directors of the various companies in violation of section 3(7) of Public Sector Companies Corporate Government Rules 2013.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader had said the provision proscribed the holder of a political office or one rendering a legislative function from becoming a director of a company governed by Public Sector Companies Corporate Governance Rules 2013. He had said all the aforementioned individuals were members of the Punjab Assembly and had been serving on boards of the various companies. This, Rasheed had told the court, was illegal.
He had requested the court to direct the Public Sector Companies Corporate Governance Rules 2013 to be implemented. Rasheed had also requested the court to direct the Law Ministry, the Punjab chief secretary and companies to desist from appointing those with political affiliations or exercising legislative functions. He had also requested the court to declare the exercise of authority by these MPAs as directors illegal, null and void.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2016.