FIA seeks details of PSM officials over ‘Rs10b theft’

Agency writes letter to mills' focal person Riaz Hussain Mangi


Our Correspndent August 08, 2022

KARACHI:

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Sunday sent a notice to the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) over the alleged theft of material worth Rs10 billion.

The FIA has written a letter to Riaz Hussain Mangi, the focal person of the PSM, asking him for the information about the heads of the security department, security supervisor as well as the storage, warehouse and guards posted at all internal and external gates till January 1, 2018. The requested information includes their name, father's name, a national identity card copy, phone number, residential address, date of appointment, and details of where they were posted now.

The FIA Corporate Crime Circle Karachi had started a probe under inquiry No 44 following the formal request of the industries and production ministry.

A week earlier, the ministry had written a letter to the FIA, asking it to launch an immediate probe into shocking revelations about assets worth Rs10 billion being stolen from PSM in collusion with some officers in the management.

The letter had stated that apart from various departments of the PSM, the main plant was not being protected from thieves which, it added, was not possible without the connivance of the security personnel.

The PSM’s internal investigation had found evidence of the involvement of senior management officers. The evidence had been provided to the FIA by the ministry. An internal inquiry is under way in the PSM as well. However, it was deemed necessary to get this investigation conducted by a federal investigation agency.

The matter had emerged after the PSM Insaf Labour Union wrote to the ministry and demanded immediate action to protect the national asset from looters.

The letter, seen by The Express Tribune, had disclosed that on the night of July 27, a gang of 50 robbers stormed the premises of the plant and looted copper wires worth millions of rupees before escaping right under the management’s nose.

“In the security department, both contract and permanent employees remained silent spectators, so it is imperative that these thefts are investigated at the highest level,” the letter had demanded.

The union had also demanded that the ministry should conduct an investigation against the board of directors and management along with the elements facilitating administrative and financial irregularities, and negligence to protect the national assets from robbers.

The management of the PSM had also dismissed the officer, who had identified the "Rs10 billion robbery", on charges of theft and misconduct.

Engineer Abdur Rehman had prepared a report of theft of material worth Rs10 billion.

He had submitted it to the CEO of the PSM, identifying the officers involved in the theft and recommending a FIA investigation against them.

The administration had opened an old inquiry against Rehman as a punishment for collecting evidence against the top management officers in the theft of billions of rupees and sent the letter of dismissal to his house.

The dismissal letter was issued the day after the ministry approached the FIA over the matter.

It is noteworthy that the total value of losses, debts, and liabilities of the PSM had reached Rs650 billion by June 2022.

The incidents of high-value theft are piling up the losses.

(With input from agencies)

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