Commerce ministry removes CEO, nine senior officials of NICL over allegations

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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Commerce has now removed Chief Executive officer (CEO) and nine senior officials of National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) over the alleged irregular, unlawful and illegal recruitments on key positions of the company, it was learnt reliably.

Well-informed sources told that Commerce Ministry, after getting a nod from the federal cabinet, has finally shown the door to NICL’s CEO Captain (retd) Jamil Akhtar Khan and nine senior officials of NICL, which were recruited by NICL chief. These nine appointments were later declared irregular, unlawful and illegal in different inquiries conducted by Departmental Accounts Committee (DAC), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). They said the ministry of commerce has advised NICL management to immediately implement the recommendations of inquiry committee and submit a report within a week.

“Commerce ministry has removed NICL’s CEO and nine senior officials after getting consent from the federal cabinet,” said sources.

Available documents disclose the removal of nine irregular, unlawful and illegal appointments made by the NICL‘s CEO during the last one year. The ministry has approved the removal of the nine senior officials which were initially pointed out by audit (DAC) and later the ministry of commerce constituted an inquiry committee to probe the objections raised by the audit. And, in the light of inquiry committee’s recommendations, the ministry of commerce has removed these nine officials and the NICL CEO as well.

As per document, NICL’s General Manager Corporate Services, Col (retd) Mahmood Ahmad (BS-20), Chief Manager Abdul Waheed (BS-19), Zonal Head Lahore Lt Col (retd) Zafar Iqbal, Chief Manager Quetta Wahid Khan, Assistant General Manager (IT) Shahzad , Deputy General Manager  (Reinsurance) Asad Ali Sheikh, Manager Danish Khalid, Deputy Manager Mir Ali Raza Alvi and Muhammad Salman Siddiqui have been removed from the NICL.

Earlier, commerce ministry sought removal of NICL’s CEO over alleged illegal recruitment on nine official slots from the Prime Minister as an audit report unearthed illegal recruitments in NICL. Upon this, the commerce ministry constituted a three-member DAC (Departmental Accounts Committee) was formed under trade ministry secretary. The DAC, after thorough scrutiny of documents of NICL, and analysis of the process of recruitments, has recommended initiation of inquiry to find the facts and advice to determine the response of said illegal recruitments. Later, the three-member DAC proved that illegal recruitments on responsible slots were made in violation of recruitment procedure and also by giving exemptions to the necessary conditions of recruitment including education, experience, regional quota, and written test.

Similarly, besides recommending to declare the said nine appointments in NICL as null and void, the DAC also held NICL CEO as responsible for the said illegal and unlawful recruitments. DAC also pointed out that there was no HR (human resource) manual in NICL and even the CEO could not provide the minutes of the recruitment committee which approved the recruitments of officials. More, a summary of the commerce ministry sent to the premier sought removal of NICL CEO recommended the prime minister to immediately get rid of the CEO by paying him three months’ salary in advance as per the conditions of his appointment contract. The summary also suggested the PM to appoint any board member as CEO as a temporary arrangement to run the affairs of NICL. And federal cabinet made its approval to the recommendations of commerce ministry regarding the removal of NICL’s CEO and nine other senior officials.

It is also learnt that nine officials have now approached the Sindh High Court against the ministry’s decision and pleaded that the inquiry was falsely conducted. And, honourable Sindh High Court has fixed a date of hearing on December 05, 2017 and directed to file a comprehensive report as well as inquiry proceedings, in any, initiated against the petitioners on the next date of hearing.

“Till the next hearing no final decision against the petitioners shall be taken by the respondent company in pursuance of the letter dated November 21, 2017, issued by Ministry of Commerce,” said SHC on November 25, 2017.

The sources further said that commerce ministry has remained all out to remove the NICL chief from top slot with executive order while without the approval of a board of NICL. They said the ministry of commerce alone is not authorised to remove the top man of NICL without the approval of NICL board. They also said that the NICL has earned a profit of Rs 2.48 billion during 2015 which has now risen to Rs 3.57 billion under the leadership of Jamil Akhtar Khan and also due to his strict policies against corruption and corrupt elements in the NICL.

It is worth mentioning here that Commerce Ministry has also constituted an inquiry committee as per the directions of Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The inquiry committee concluded that the “appointments conducted on nine posts by NICL during the last one year are all illegal and may be declared null and void by the competent authority”. The PAC directed the management of NICL to implement the recommendations of inquiry committee and to terminate the contracts of nine illegal appointees with immediate effect.