Pepco out to ruin local transformer industry

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Blatantly violating the Supreme Court guidelines requiring of corruption probes to be conducted in a transparent manner, Pepco under the Water and Power Ministry, has recently concluded an inquiry into a complaint that was totally fake and whose inquiry officer was himself an alleged accomplice in the malpractices that he was probing. ‘The News’ has learnt from reliable sources that on Jan 31 last, the Monitoring and Surveillance wing of Pakistan Electric Power Co.(Pepco) issued a letter to NTDC and different Discos (Distribution companies) that called for ‘immediate and priority action’ against few medium-scale enterprises engaged in distribution transformers’ manufacturing, on the basis of an inquiry conducted by Rahman Maqbool, a senior official who had himself been issuing Inspection Certificates to one of the companies against whom he has recommended action.

According to the sources, Water and Power seniors had a number of officials at its command who could conduct a fair probe on receipt of the complaint against some Pakistani distribution transformers’ manufacturers but Rahman Maqbool was picked up as the head of inquiry committee in sheer disregard for the fact that he has himself been clearing the transformers in large quantity whose rupee value falls between 0.7 to 1.0 billion, before their supply to different distribution companies (Discos) throughout the country.

It merits mention here that Inspection Certificates are issued after going through a strict procedure about testing of specifications and series of high-standard lab tests of the transformers manufactured by local companies.

If some manufacturing companies are at fault, equally liable is the officer who has been declaring their equipment as fit for use in the national electricity network, say the sources but that officer was made the inquiry officer to camouflage the alleged corruption of Water and Power officials and their patrons.

The funniest thing in the proceedings, according to the sources, is that no one in Water and Power Ministry/ Pepco ever bothered to make one phone call at the phone numbers given at the bottom of the so-called Chinese Transformers’ Manufacturers Association’s letterhead that carried the complaint. The sources say that the complaint was fake and that it did not come from Chinese friends since the two phone numbers given on the letterhead were that of a shoe company as well as of a clinic (information further verified)

When contacted, Joint Secretary, Water and Power Ministry and MD Pepco, Zargham Eshaq Khan, told ‘The News’ on telephone after the then Secretary Nargis Sethi’s phone to this scribe a week back, that the said inquiry committee was just a fact-finding body and that the word ‘action’ was not the mandate of such bodies.

He, however, agreed that the inquiry had become questionable since the head of the inquiry team had himself been approving the equipment supplied by one of the companies under probe.

He (the MD) informed further that appropriate action would be taken against the said official. The MD also said that no one would be condemned unheard and that the competent authority in this matter was not Pepco but the chief executive officers of different discos.

Following that talk with ‘The News’, the MD was sent detailed emails with copies to Secretary Water and Power including the incumbent Secretary, Rai Sikander, but neither the MD nor the Secretary bothered to clarify the major lies in their one-time version.

The MD had previously explained that Pepco was not the competent authority whereas the Jan 31 letter says “it issues with the approval of MD Pepco” (copy of the letter is available with ‘The News’ and has come from confidential sources).

The second important point of MD’s conversation was that action against the inquiry committee head would be taken for clearing the equipment that he now declares sub-standard after three years of inspections (by himself). No action has so far been taken, according to the sources.

As for the third point that the Pepco letter could not use the term ‘action’, the contradiction is quite visible as the letter calls for ‘immediate and priority action’ and the fourth point is that no one amongst the manufacturers have been served any show cause before arbitrary action that has been taken, as per the latest information available with even those companies stopped from participating in tenders that had so far supplied Rs two-to-three billion worth distribution transformers to the Discos throughout Pakistan, during the last decade or so that too after meeting the prescribed strict standards and specifications.

The MD Pepco and Secretary Rai Sikander were also contacted thrice and sent sms messages at their cell phones till the filing of this report, in addition to faxes, but they chose to remain mum to the queries, giving birth to yet more doubts about the faulty functioning of our Water and Power system whose brunt (of darkness and bad governance) the nation is bearing with shock for quite some time.


Courtesy: The News

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