Accountability bureau to recover billions lost in oil scam

1.6m litres of diesel stolen from pipeline of PSO and PARCO in 2-3 years.


Zafar Bhutta December 03, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Sub-committee of a parliamentary panel has decided to refer a case of Rs40 billion oil theft from the pipeline of Pak Arab Refinery Limited (Parco) and Pakistan State Oil (PSO) to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in an attempt to recover the amount from the culprits.

“We will send the case of multi-billion-rupee oil theft to NAB as soon as the Punjab police complete the investigation,” said Jamshaid Dasti, Chairman of Sub-Committee of National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources, in a meeting held here on Monday.

Punjab police officials told the committee that the arrested accused had admitted that 1.6 million litres of diesel had been stolen from the pipeline in Mehmoodkot in the past two to three years.

A special police branch has compiled a report on the oil theft that points to the involvement of oil mafia, police, local administration and oil tankers. The report has been submitted to the interior ministry for further action.

Talking to The Express Tribune, PSO Deputy Managing Director Jehangir Shah, however, said only 123,000 litres of oil was reported missing and 67,000 litres were recovered. PSO officials unearthed the scam and took action to stop the pilferage, he said.

“I have received information that confirms Rs20-40 billion worth of oil theft,” Sub-committee Chairman Dasti told the meeting and said when he was contesting the election, a campaign was launched against him, alleging that his group was involved in oil theft. “If I am involved in it, I present myself for an open trial,” he declared.

Dasti alleged that the security staff of PSO was involved in stealing oil, stressing that heads of PSO and Parco should be tried for the scam. “Had the sub-committee enjoyed powers to arrest the heads of these companies, it would have put them in jail to recover the money,” he remarked.

PSO

Members of the committee asked the police officials present in the meeting to investigate how many people were involved in the theft. They put the responsibility of checking oil stock at the Mehmoodkot depot on the shoulders of PSO and Parco and said officials of the companies should be tried for negligence.

Absence of the PSO managing director from the meeting also annoyed the committee members, who summoned him in the next meeting and said the MD should be removed from the job.

Dasti said the petroleum ministry had also ignored the theft issue and the heads of companies were appointed through the back-door channel.

According to Additional Secretary Petroleum Abid Saeed, Adviser to Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain was looking into the matter of oil theft and would take action against the elements involved.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2012

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