19 cases under probe in oil sector, NAB tells SC

Says PPL acquired property at thrice the market value six years back


Hasnaat Malik October 28, 2018
Smoke is released into the sky at a refinery in Wilmington, California. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has told the Supreme Court that it is probing into 19 cases of alleged corruption, misuse of authority and misappropriation in the oil sector of the country.

An inquiry has also established that the state owned Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) acquired about six years ago an asset at a price that was three times higher than its market value by arranging a fictitious evaluation report.

“In 2011, the PPL acquired the MND E&P UK at $180 million against its market worth of $60 million. The KASB conducted the [fictitious] evaluation,” said a NAB report submitted in the apex court on Saturday.

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The report was submitted in connection with a case filed by the Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL) former employee Najam Haider Kamal through Naeem Bukhari against alleged corruption in the contracts of the state-owned company.

The petitioner said the public sector exploration and production (E&P) companies – OGDCL, PPL, MPCL and GHPL – were set up with the taxpayers’ money to explore, find and produce oil and gas.

The criteria to judge their performance should be based on this objective. Overall revenue generation is not really relevant. The petitioner requested the SC that all the misdemeanors and malpractices be referred to NAB and all directors of the PPL held accountable.

“The inquiry established that during 2011-12 the PPL through fictitious evaluation report conducted by the Financial Adviser of M/S KASB acquired assets of MND E&P UK at USD 180 million. However, the factual worth of the assets was not more than USD 56 to 60 million,” said the NAB report.

It said the same fact was further supplemented by M/S RPS Energy Australia Evaluation report of 2015/16 and the forensic investigation report conducted by M/S Deloitte UK.

The report said an inquiry found criminal role of six accused persons including a ‘beneficiary accused’ of Czech Republic and the inquiry was forwarded for conversion into an investigation.

NAB informed the court that investigation is also under way against Pakistan State Oil (PSO) officers and others regarding misuse of authority in signing sale-purchase agreement with M/S Byco Oil Pakistan.

“An investigation against officers of PSO, M/s Byco and the PPL is under process, and draft reference and investigation report have been sent to NAB headquarters for approval of reference after fulfilling legal and codal formalities,” it added.

Complying with the SC’s September 29 order, NAB also shared status of 19 pending inquiries and investigations pertaining to Ministry of Petroleum, the PSO, the ODGCL and the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra).

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“Eight matters are pending related to the Ministry of Petroleum and the PSO while eight are pending related to the OGDL and three are being conducted regarding Ogra,” it said.

The anti-corruption watchdog also revealed that inquiries is also being conducted against a former prime minister, minister for petroleum and other senior officials in matter related to inter-State Gas Systems (ISGs) and M/s Energy Terminal Pakistan limited ( ETPL).

It said an inquiry is still going on against indiscriminate misuse of public money in appointing officers in the PSO with exorbitant salaries and other perks and privileges.

“Likewise inquiries are also going on against officers of the PPL and others regarding acquisition of shares of the MND E&P Limited by the PPL. Investigation is in final stage against Amir Chishti, Irfan Khalil Quraishi and ex-MDs PSO Naeem Yahya Mir and Zulfiqar Ali Jaffari and others.”

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