The Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) has decided to review its decision to reinstate employees found in possession of faked academic records, caving in to fears that courts may take action as they did against politicians.
OGDC Managing Director Masood Siddiqui – sacked recently by the caretaker government but reinstated by the Supreme Court on Thursday – had purportedly reinstated some employees who had been dismissed from service on charges of fabricating their academic qualifications.
Siddiqui was purportedly advised to table the matter before the Board of Directors – the competent forum to decide the fate of employees. However, he allegedly bypassed the board and used his powers as MD to reinstate the errant individuals.
Several politicians were sentenced to three years in prison on charges of holding faked academic degrees before the elections, which has now become a cause of concern in the OGDC. The company management has decided to review the decisions regarding the reinstatement of the employees in question.
The OGDC had discovered four cases of individuals who had forged degrees among its ranks, Pakistan State Oil seven cases, and the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority found two cases of individuals holding falsified documents. The OGDC is the only public sector company whose management had reinstated those employees found guilty of the charge.
According to sources, the OGDC had sent a total of 83 cases regarding faked degrees to different universities for investigation, out of which four degrees were found to be counterfeited. Former ODGC MD Basharat Mirza had dismissed all employees found guilty in 2012.
OGDC deputy chief Muhammad Khurshiduz Zafar Khan, who was dismissed by Mirza on charges of holding a fake degree, was allegedly reinstated by Siddiqui. Khan’s bachelor’s degree had been falsified, but he was reinstated nonetheless with the penalty that he would be demoted and sent on compulsory retirement with all benefits. This followed an old practice in OGDC, wherein the company used to demote employees found to have faked their credentials.
When contacted, Siddiqui clarified that he had removed all employees found to be appointed on fake degrees up until May 6.
He said some of these employees had been near the age of retirement, and it had seemed harsh to kick them out unceremoniously.
“But the Supreme Court had asked the company to take stern action against such people,” he said.
“It was not a matter of choice for us. The Supreme Court has provided clear directives in this regard.”
Khan’s case has been submitted to the top management for their consideration.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2013.
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