NAB asked to investigate oil & gas theft in Karak

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As all attempts to curb the practice of crude oil theft from installations of MOL oil and gas exploration company in Karak district of K-P go in vain, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) have asked the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources to allow National Accountability Bureau (NAB )  to intervene so that  the investigation of oil and gas theft could be investigated thoroughly.

The committee was informed about the theft of oil and gas in the province,  causing losses of billions to the national exchequer as well as decreasing royalty payments to the province. Bilal Ahmed Virk, a member of the National Assembly presided over the meeting.

While briefing the committee, the FIA official stated that the agency had investigated several issues of gas theft in district Karak and FIRs had been lodged against the accused. Since the NAB has stricter laws regarding recovery, the cases should be handed over to NAB for comprehensive probing.

KP Home Secretary, Shakeel Qadir Khan also requested the committee to hand over the investigation of the matter to NAB and assured full support of the provincial government to the investigation authority. He added that the KP government had earlier requested the NAB to investigate the case, but the bureau had refused on the grounds that NAB does not investigate theft cases.

Upon request from FIA and the provincial government, the committee decided to call upon NAB authorities in next meeting to bring up the matter with them. The committee also asked the FIA and KP home secretary to make further consultation before the next committee meeting.

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reported about Rs 6 to 8 billion worth of gas theft every year in KP. However, the provincial government has been unable to control the theft in the region. He further stated that as much as Rs10m /hour gas theft is reported in the areas but the provincial government fails to pay heed to the impending problem.

Abbasi further informed the committee that the KP government had not fulfilled its agreement for the release of 10 percent funds from royalty collection to the protection of gas sector in the KP. The committee unanimously decided that legal experts from the KP government and federal government would be summoned to the next meeting of the committee to resolve the matter.

Group Regional Advisor Middle East Africa and Pakistan, MOL Group, Ali Murtaza Abbas while commenting on crude oil theft in Karak district during the committee meeting said that they had an effective monitoring system in place and had registered FIRs against oil theft.