Pakistan Observer

NAB, OGRA & accountability

Muhammad Daheem

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - The former Oil and Gas Regularity Authority chief, the members Mansoor Muzaffar, Mir Kamal Marri and several of their cronies are involved in a scam of Rs83 billion. A number of agents and front men have acknowledged that they worked for Sadiq , Kamal Marri and Mansoor Muzaffar for ‘kickbacks and commissions etc. This has been stated in a report submitted in the Supreme Court by NAB official. They have been accused of causing a huge loss to the national treasury. The NAB has arrested Member (Gas) Mansoor Muzaffar from his office while the former chairman OGRA, Tauqeer Sadiq, Member Finance Mr. Kamal and several of their cronies have managed to escape.

Waqas, NAB’s investigation officer, informed the court that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, then minister of water and power and chairman of the interview board, recommended Sadiq’s appointment documents to then prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani. For this a Reference Case may be filed against the culprits in near future. It is reported that Tauqeer Sadiq in collaboration with Manssor Muzzafar and Mir Kamal Marri caused a loss of Rs44 billion to the national treasury in the form of gas development surcharge. The arrest warrants for Mari and Tauqeer Sadiq have been issued and NAB teams are in search of the accused persons.

It seems that NAB is not playing its role positively. It is probably conducting investigation half-heartedly due to immense pressure from the federal government. The fact of the matter is that only one member has been arrested even after apex court’s stern warning. It has debunked the shallowness of the system. The flaw in the system is obvious. A few corrupt people can steal billion of rupees from the national treasury. The anti-graft body submitted the report to the apex court after nine months instead of 45 days. Even then the report proved a futile paperwork and court turned it down. The court has demanded a concise report from NAB officials with chairman’s own signature. It also demands immediate arrest of fugitives. Ironically a number of cronies, found guilty in the NAB inquiry, are still enjoying the status of their posts in the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Department. As a matter of fact SC’s orders are not being implemented in accordance with spirit of law.

Several OGRA officials are allegedly involved in the mega corruption cases. The report says that there seems to be relationship between Executive Director ( Complaints) OGRA Sohail Tariq and Member Gas Mansoor Muzaffar to plunder the national money. This inquiry has revealed that OGRA is riddled with corruption. The Gas Mafia protected the illegal activities of this organization. This is the major cause of skyrocketing increase in gas prices. In fact it has put last nail in the deteriorating economic condition of Pakistan. It is generally believed that Tauqir Sadiq, a close relative of PPP’s Secretary General & Senator Jahangir Badar, and Kamal Marri have strong political background and therefore have succeeded to find a ‘safe heaven’. Several influential cronies are still working in OGRA at responsible posts.

OGRA issued 306 illegal licences for new CNG stations during fiscal year 2009-10 and 170 illegal licenses in 2010-11. It violated ban imposed by the government in 2008. It is pertinent to mention here that country was passing through a severe shortage of CNG gas. The outcome was a loss of Rs36 billion to the national treasury. OGRA gave stay orders to various consumers of different genera in theft cases. These include CNG, ceramics, pottery works, textile, spinning etc. In result, huge amount could not be recovered from thieves and their companions. It led to a great loss to the national exchequer. According to NAB report out of Rs 87.28 million damage, caused by illegal stay orders issued against gas theft cases, Rs30.82 million have been recovered as yet.

Relocation of CNG stations has resulted in huge increase of line losses of SNGPL and SSGCL companies. According to report Mansoor Muzaffar misused his authority and illegally obtained vehicles from the above- mentioned companies. Fuel, driver and deprecation cost caused a loss of Rs3 million to the national treasury. Several irregularities have been found in OGRA authorities’ decisions such as increase in gas theft, leakage ceiling and issuance of unauthorized compressed natural gas( CNG) station licences. It is pertinent to mention here that Justice Jawwad Khwaja has already declared appointment of former OGRA chairman, Tauqeer Sadiq, illegal. His LLM degree is not genuine. The lawyers were paid Rs13.27 million illegally to defend Sadiq in fake degree issue. Another amount of Rs0.85 was paid to a senior lawyer to represent Tauqeer Sadiq in the same matter in Sindh Court. He has also charges of misconduct and corruption in the issuance of compressed natural gas (CNG) station licences.

The report says that OGRA increased wellhead gas price from $2.80mmbtu to $3.9mmbtu for Dewan Petroleum Limited. For this the nation suffered a loss of Rs22 billion. It is stated that Sadiq also increased the benchmark of un-accounted for gas (UFG) from 4.5 per cent to 7 per cent against the norms and without any real justification. This unnecessarily increased the benefit of the gas companies. It is believed that Mir Kamal Murree, OGRA Member Finance, has secretly fled abroad. He got 40 days ex-Pakistan leave from Cabinet Division. Moreover, NAB has failed to arrest Tauqeer Sadiq, the main character involved in the scam. It seems that SC is determined to take stern action against the culprits but NAB has failed to fulfil its duty to a certain extent. It seems to be under pressure from the government and apparently has double standards. Ironically, NAB has given full protocol to the arrested Member (Gas) per government policy. It may be interesting to note that Mansoor Muzaffar and Mir Kamal Murree have not been removed from their posts as yet. The corrupt OGRA officials have inflicted a loss of multi-billion rupees in various dealings. It’s high time exemplary punishment awarded to the criminals and culprits involved in the scam. This money, if used in the power sector, to end load shedding, may have changed the whole scenario of the nation.

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