LAHORE: The Prime Minister’s Office has sought a report from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources over allegations of dubious appointments of the managing director, directors and senior officers in Pakistan State Oil (PSO), The Express Tribune has learnt.
In a letter sent to the secretary of petroleum and natural resources, the PM Office directed him to prepare and submit a report detailing the appointments sponsored by the oil mafia, which were inflicting a loss of billions of rupees to the national coffers in duty and tax evasion.
The move came following receipt of an application by the prime minister on May 20, alleging that PSO had tailor-made criteria for advertising and interviewing candidates for top positions in the company.
The appointments made in violation of rules in the petroleum sector, allegedly in connivance with multinationals and the oil mafia, are causing a loss of billions to the federal government and bringing huge benefits for the companies and mafia.
The Rs82-billion scandal in the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) in collusion with officials of gas distribution companies and Rs400 billion worth of irregularities in price differential claims and oil pricing were the outcome of dubious hiring.
The application pointed out that an inquiry revealed a loss to the national exchequer because of dubious price differential claims worth Rs317 billion paid to oil marketing companies and refineries for the last nine years.
The National Accountability Bureau unearthed a scam of Rs81.45 billion because of oil price manipulation in 2006. Similarly, the Customs Intelligence detected evasion of sales tax and regulatory duty worth Rs36 billion by the oil marketing companies and refineries in price differential claims in 2009.
The letter to the petroleum secretary said the managing directors appointed in PSO since 2000 on high price tags or on special assignments had been involved in causing financial loss to the national coffers but they got off scot-free without any action against them.
During this period, tailor-made career advertisements for the hiring of managing director and chief executive officer were published in a bid to bring people of their choice with only 15 years of experience in relevant fields and no age bracket.
The current managing director of PSO, Amjad Pervez Janjua, took over on July 29, 2013. An audit report on the financial accounts of PSO for 2012-13 has left a big question mark over the role of government in the appointment and nomination of members of the company’s board of management.
The petroleum ministry, following directives of the PM Office, has asked the PSO managing director to submit views and a comprehensive report on dubious appointments of the MD, directors and members of the board of management.
Talking to The Express Tribune, PSO spokesperson denied that the company had received any letter from the Ministry of Petroleum regarding appointments. “We are not an authority to comment on dubious postings,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2014.
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