The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has detected over Rs5 billion worth of gas, electricity and oil theft during its raids across the country since July 2013, officials from the agency told members of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior and Narcotics on Thursday.
Around Rs900 million have been recovered from oil, gas and power thieves in the same period, senior FIA officials said. As many as 754 FIRs have been registered against illegal power users across the country and 715 of the accused have been arrested so far, they added.
The Senate panel was informed that the largest volume of power theft was reported from Punjab.
FIA Director Administration Tariq Butt revealed that a raiding team traced the largest gas theft to a single factory in Sheikhupura, which amounted to Rs2 billion. The factory owner was even generating electricity from the illegal gas connection through a 1MW generator, he said.
Butt said oil theft was particularly high because of a lack of any transparent transport mechanism. “An oil tanker carrying Rs6 million worth of oil is entrusted to a single driver, who can steal some of it at any time,” he told panel members.
Acting FIA Director General Ghalib Ali said that during investigation, the agency also collected important data on illegal businesses which could also be used for purposes such as tax evasion.
FIA officials suggested that the agency have a specialised wing to crack down on power theft, which would include experts from the oil, gas and power sector. They added that the FIA required at least 1,200 additional staffers for this assignment.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2014.