PAC tightens the noose around NESPAK chief

Inquiry establishes that MD authorised illegal promotions, misused powers.


Shahbaz Rana November 22, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The findings of an inquiry committee have established that the managing director of National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak) Asad Khan misused authority, tightening the noose around the ‘well-connected’ Khan.

The report of the four-member inquiry committee was tabled and deliberated upon on Wednesday in a meeting of Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) special panel. The findings showed that since 2008 many questionable promotions were made by the Nespak MD.

Despite pressure from all ‘relevant quarters’, the PAC has been investigating malpractices in Nespak for the last few months. The committee members including panel chairperson Yasmeen Rehman have revealed time and again that they were approached with requests to soften their stance on the issue.

The PAC panel had constituted the inquiry committee to investigate allegations of misuse of authority by Khan in making promotions including the merits in the appointment of the MD.

The Special Secretary Water and Power Hamiyatullah Khan, who was also part of the inquiry committee, said that 21 promotions from grade 11 to 12 were made without being recommended either by the heads of the respective divisions or by the board of management of Nespak. He said that the committee had recommended that at least ten promotions were questionable and needed to be redone. The Nespak’s service structure is different than the government’s service structure.

“The MD exercised his discretion beyond permissible limits”, said the special secretary.

The PAC panel decided to formally fix the responsibility for making irregular promotions and expanded the inquiry committee by bringing in the Federal Investigation Agency. The initial inquiry committee included officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Establishment Division, Ministry of Water and Power and the Auditor General of Pakistan.

The NAB’s member on the inquiry committee, Zahir Shah said that he had attached a separate note in the report and his findings were that the MD was using vast discretionary powers and ‘playing with the careers of the officials’. “In Nespak the relationship between the MD and the rest of the organisation was that of a master and slaves”, said Shah, NAB’s Director of Operations.

After being pressured by the PAC panel, the convener of the board of management of Nespak, admitted that there were cases where people were promoted in violation of the criteria but added that the criterion for promotions was fluid and changed every year according to the “ground realities”.

On the issue of appointments of vice presidents, the PAC panel expressed dissatisfaction over the inquiry committee’s findings. It was revealed in the meeting that the minutes of the selection board meeting were “forged”. While reading the official documents, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) said that the then secretary water and power Imtiaz Kazi did not attend one meeting of the selection board but the minutes had his signatures.

Hamiyatullah said these documents were not provided to the inquiry committee during the probe.

Regarding appointment of the MD, the inquiry committee concluded that Asad Khan was not the senior most vice president before he was appointed as MD.

Moreover,Pakistan Engineering Council’s (PEC) by-laws say that an architect cannot take over the position of MD, said Hamiyatullah.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2012.

 

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