Routine work has stopped at Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) after law enforcement agencies apprehended its top officials last week over alleged corruption, officials said on Monday.
Company’s Deputy Managing Director Shoaib Warsi, Chief Financial Officer M Amin Rajput and General Manager Kamran Nagi were whisked away by security officials from their offices in front of their colleagues.
“We are in a terrible state. Three of our top lieutenants are gone and the rest of them have gone underground. How are we supposed to work under these conditions?” said a senior official who is in touch with the “right quarters” over the matter.
Officials in SSGC, which besides supplying gas to consumers in Sindh and Balochistan, also uplifts re-gasified LNG, said that no one was ready to take decisions on key issues for fear of being implicated in a false case later.
“Those who have been detained are respectable people. Rajput was made CFO couple of months ago. Before that he was in the internal audit department which has nothing to do with policy decisions,” said an official.
The detentions come at a time when the government is struggling to meet gas supply needs of industries and domestic consumers.
Much hyped imports of LNG to supplement domestic supply have also hit a snag due to delays in formulation of rules and procedures.
SSGC’s own financial woes have deepened due to the delay in finalising the past three year’s accounts because the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority has not approved of its regulated revenues yet.
Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi last week said any case of alleged corruption should be brought before courts. However, he had not agreed that this action of the law enforcement agencies would subvert work in any way.
The fact that officials were taken away just after arrest of former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain has also added to conspiracy theories doing the rounds, officials say.
“No one knows what this enquiry is about. It could be anybody’s guess,” said another official.
Neither SSGC nor its sister concern Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) are entirely independent in taking decision on gas connections.
Successive managements have complained of immense political interference that has led to a shift in consumer base from bulk customers to leakage and theft-prone households.
SSGC’s Managing Director Khalid Rahman also addressed his staff yesterday to boost morale. The MD informed his team that the agencies are currently making enquiries and no charges have so far been levelled against any officer of the company, a statement said.
He advised officers not to believe in hearsay or engage in rumour mongering.
“The MD has appealed to media that considering the sensitivity of the issue, it should verify the facts from company’s corporate communication department or the law enforcement agencies, before making any news public.”