Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has appointed his Cabinet Secretary Sami Saeed as Executive Director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila, sparking concerns over violation of procedures that make it binding for the government to circulate the post among all ministries.
Saeed would replace Siraj Shamsuddin who would return to Pakistan after completing his four-year term as executive director.
The prime minister picked Saeed from a panel of three officials including Ikhlaq Tarar, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology, and Nadeem Hasan Asif, Chairman of Capital Development Authority, well-placed sources said.
A summary for the appointment of the executive director had been sent by Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Secretary Nargis Sethi, who happened to be a batchmate of Saeed, to the PM Office, seeking his nod.
Last week, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had issued orders to proceed against Sethi and others under the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance in a case of illegal appointment of Ayaz Niazi as chairman of the National Insurance Company Limited.
At the time of hiring Niazi, Sethi was serving as acting principal secretary to the then prime minister.
PM Office spokesman Mohiuddin Wani confirmed to The Express Tribune that Saeed had been appointed executive director/alternate executive director of the ADB.
EAD officials insist that the division followed the same procedure for Saeed’s appointment, as in the case of Nasir Khosa, who was appointed executive director of the World Bank.
However, the process of appointing Khosa was flawed because the government failed to circulate the post among the ministries, as required under the rules. According to an office memorandum of the Establishment Division issued in April 2000, the vacancy in international organisations, foreign governments and UN specialised agencies has to be widely circulated to all ministries, divisions, provincial governments, etc.
After circulation, the Special Selection Board of the Establishment Division will shortlist a suitable panel of officers for decision by the prime minister.
One of the panelists told The Express Tribune, on condition of anonymity, that no interviews were conducted for the post. According to the sources, the decision to appoint Saeed had already been taken and the panel was formed as a mere formality.
The government’s apparent departure from the office memorandum of the Establishment Division has made the appointment controversial at a time when there is a dire need to further the country’s economic interests among members of the ADB.
The executive director of the ADB represents a constituency of seven countries including Kazakhstan, the Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Timor-Leste. The ADB has a 12-member board of directors, headed by the bank’s president.
A director supervises the ADB’s financial statements, approve its administrative budget, reviews and approve all policy documents and loans, equity and technical assistance operations.
Sami Saeed has studied at Cambridge University, UK and Harvard University, USA. He has taken professional courses in public finance and executive leadership from the Kennedy School of Government Harvard, IMF Institute Washington, ADB Institute Tokyo and Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2013.
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