OGDCL MD sacked for swindling Rs320m

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ISLAMABAD: The massive swindling of Rs320 million through the pilferage of high speed diesel (HSD) at Tando Alam Logistics has been found as one of the main reasons, which has led to the unceremonious sacking of Masood Siddiqui as the managing director of Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL).

The caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso on Monday sacked Masood Siddiqui as MD OGDCL over the loss worth Rs320 million caused by the pilferage of HSD at Tando Alam logistics, mentioned in the charge sheet prepared by the ministry of petroleum and natural resources.

Following the dismissal of Siddiqui, the government appointed Muhammad Riaz Khan as the acting managing director of the country’s largest oil and gas exploration and production company. Khan took charge on Tuesday.

Riaz Khan has more than 30 years of experience in almost all disciplines of petroleum engineering, such as production, operations and management, production forecasts, production optimisation, surface facilities, oil and gas field development and gas conditioning and processing.

The charge sheet against Siddiqui, forwarded to the PM, stated that he was found in managing affairs of OGDCL in partisan, selective, arbitrary and non-transparent manner.

The sheet disclosed that he hired arbitrarily a bullet proof vehicle in Karachi at a hefty rent of Rs1.2 million per month.

The prime minister was also apprised of an inquiry into the embezzlement of HSD pilferage worth Rs320 million at Tando Alam Logistics. The two inquiry committees comprising of senior level officials of OGDCL had already established involvement of Niaz Ahmad Arbab, operating manager of Logistics in the scam. He was suspended from the service in January 2012.

The charge sheet further said that Siddiqui, however, on the recommendations of his officer Col (Retd) Javaid Iqbal quashed the findings of the inquiry committees and instead outsourced the probe to a private security company against a payment of Rs2.2 million.

The private company exonerated all the accused earlier found involved in the embezzlement by the in-house inquiry committees of OGDCL. Thereafter, Siddiqui reinstated the accused in August 2012 in a blatant disregard to rules and policy since no policy allowed the MD to outsource the investigation of a serious matter involving million of rupees.

Prime Minister was further informed that Masood Siddiqui had taken on the payroll around 3,000 third-party workers who were hired through contractors. These workers were regularized after a couple of years.

Siddiqui was also charged of approving the increase in pay and allowances of the OGDCL’s union members by 40 percent.

It is said that these measures will possibly result into financial burden of three billion rupees on the company, in addition to encouraging other state-owned organizations to demand similar concessions.

The previous government had inducted Siddiqui into the top slot without following the rules and regulations though it had sought nomination of four candidates from the headhunter for the post of managing director, according the charge sheet.

Notably, Siddiqui was appointed when Dr Asim Hussain was the minister for petroleum and natural resources. Under the rules, the post had to be advertised to ensure transparency. And, Siddiqui, who never applied in response to the advertisement published in national newspapers, was offered the position.

He was hired for three-year service contract, contrary to the two-year contract advertised in newspapers. According to recruitment policy, 55 years age is mandatory for MD post but he was 49 years old.

Masood Siddiqui was not traceable for the comments as his cell phone was powered off.

However, the sources close to the sacked OGDCL MD said that the authorities in the ministry of petroleum and natural resources under the caretaker regime wanted to scuttle the engineering, procurement, construction contract of Kunnar-Pasakhi Deep (KPD) project on the ground that the deal was done in haste.

However, they said that the deal took the normal time under an utmost transparent procedure. For the first time, the OGDCL managed to get the lowest bid of $192.052 million from Shandong Kerui China for development of KPD field, they added.

“APS Engineering Company Italy came up with the highest bid of $454.353 million and failed to get the contract, but the local agent of the highest bidder managed to make inroads into the government and succeeded to remove Siddiqui to scrap the KPD deal,” they said.

They also said had the deal been continued, the KPD field would have injected 284 million metric cubic feet per day of gas into the system after the development, which could have generated 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

If the deal is not honored by the incumbent government, then the country would sustain a huge loss of Rs13.5 billion in one year, they said.



Courtesy: The News

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