The issue was discussed during the National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources meeting chaired by Bilal Ahmed Virk.
The committee was told by the FIA official that FIRs had been registered against the five accused.
Virk stated that the main accused happens to be the president of the housing society, Irfan Babar, who continues to occupy a senior post in the company. Babar is listed as the company’s general manager MMD.
Incidentally, the development was not only a cause of concern for the committee chairman but petroleum ministry officials as well. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who is the petroleum minister, happens to be the MNA of the area where the housing society is located.
However, the reply to Virk’s concern came from Arshad Malik, general manger HR at OGDCL, who said that Babar has obtained pre-arrest bail and is therefore, continuing at the post.
“OGDCL has acknowledged that their logo was used illegally, their telephones were used to sell the plots at this housing society without permission. Senior employees cannot be part of any such venture,” Virk said. “But what [action] has OGDCL taken against the said employees.”
Other matters discussed
Meanwhile, the minister for petroleum told the parliamentary panel that someone has to pay for the installation of gas connections for people living in a radius of five kilometres around the gas fields.
“There is a misconception that gas will be provided free of cost to people living around gas fields – even the gas connections will not be free,” Abbassi, said.
He was responding to queries by the members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources.
Committee members, mainly belonging to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, inquired about the status of the policy to provide gas to consumers living in a five-kilometre radius of gas fields on a priority basis.
The committee was informed by officials that connections would be provided by gas utility companies – SSGC and the SNGPL — but the matter remained pending over the issue of payments.
“Somebody has to pay for it – either the federal government through the MNA schemes or the provincial government through the royalty received on gas production or the consumers,” the minister said.
On the other hand, members Nasir Khan Khattak and Akram Khan Durrani wanted to inquire details of gas development schemes in Nowshera district of K-P, but SNGPL officials did not have details.
“The issue is that gas is extracted from Kohat, Karak and Hangu districts but the royalty on gas is mostly spent in districts like Nowshera,” Khan said. His statement was seconded by many members of the committee.
The committee also took serious note against the managements of OGDCL and PSO, who are accused of protecting corrupt employees.
Similarly, a senior PSO official was grilled by members for protecting an employee accused of corruption who had even confessed in court and agreed to pay back Rs1.2 million. However, he was hired back by PSO and was earning around Rs0.5 million a month.
PSO officials expressed lack of knowledge over the court’s decision and the employee’s salary package.
The committee also came hard on the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources for failing to terminate the licences of those exploration and production companies that were not executing activities in their allocated blocks.