NAB criticized for reaching plea bargain with suspects of oil theft

A parliamentary panel has criticised the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for reaching a plea bargain with people accused of oil theft worth hundreds of millions of rupees in the country’s largest hydrocarbon explorer – Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) .

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources, in a meeting chaired by Chaudhry Bilal Ahmed Virk on Monday, expressed serious concern over the matter.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Director Ahteeram Dar briefed the committee about the theft of diesel worth Rs328 million from Tando Adam oil complex. Hussain Bukhsh Narejo and others have been named in this case. The NAB director informed the committee that the case had been pending in the court of law since 2015. However, the government received Rs45 million after six accused struck a plea bargain.

Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi expressed dissatisfaction over the plea bargain, saying the tool was used in the absence of concrete evidence.

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In another case of oil theft, an official of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) presented third inquiry report on crude oil theft from a field in Karak district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with a recommendation to refer the case to NAB for a comprehensive investigation. The committee, however, put off a decision on the request.

The FIA official argued that 70 cases of oil theft had been registered by the local police against unknown accused in Karak and Hangu since 2012 but unfortunately no action could be taken against the culprits. The oil stealing started in 2012 and increased in 2015.

He said MOL company management did not register FIR against stealing from 2014 to 2016, though 46 cases of theft in its premises were registered.

He pointed out that the oil pipeline was punctured 10 times, adding the FIA failed to get relevant information from the local police who refused to cooperate.

 

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