OGRA chief likely to be dismissed soon: sources  

‘Cabinet will also issue a charge sheet against Uzma Adil Khan’

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is likely to change the command of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) within the next few days through an executive order, it was learnt on Wednesday.

Informed sources privy to this development told Pakistan Today that PM Imran Khan is likely to remove the OGRA chief prior to his departure for China, adding that the cabinet division will soon issue a notification in this regard.

The prime minister is the sole competent authority to appoint or dismiss the chairman of OGRA, under Section 3(8)(a) and Section 3(11) of the OGRA Ordinance, 2002.

The sources said that the cabinet division’s notification for the dismissal of the OGRA chief will be self-explanatory, adding that the decision has been taken in consideration of her “illegal appointment, misuse of official powers, acts of nepotism, favouritism and other illegal decisions.”

The cabinet division will not only issue a notification of dismissal of OGRA chief but will also issue a charge sheet against her acts separately, sources confirmed.

According to sources, a charge sheet will be issued to Uzma Adil Khan while the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will also be asked to investigate the allegations mentioned in the charge sheet. It was learnt that a senior OGRA member, Noorul Haq, is likely to be given the acting charge of OGRA.

Sharing details of the charge sheet, sources said Uzma Adil Khan had intentionally applied and accepted her “illegal” appointment as OGRA chairperson, which was a violation of Section 5(2) and 5(3) of the OGRA Ordinance, 2002.

They claimed that Uzma had gradually increased the gas tariff of Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Pipeline Limited (SSGCL) from the date of her appointment in July 2016 onwards. Similarly, they added, Uzma had submitted a summary for the approval of increase in Unaccounted for Gas (UFG) from 4.5 per cent to 7.1 per cent for both SNGPL and SSGCL with the addition of 2.6 per cent deemed as gas sale, thus putting a burden of about Rs10.6 billion per annum on all the natural gas consumers.

Likewise, she had approved the licenses of seven oil marketing companies (OMCs) on July 22, 2016, under the Pakistan Oil Rules, 1971, and later on shifted their operations under the Pakistan Oil Rules, 2016, without amendments in Section 44(3)(c)(1) of the OGRA Ordinance, 2002.

Moreover, sources informed that Uzma issued licenses to 21 OMCs under Pakistan Oil Rules, 2016, whereas it was still illegal unless Section 44(3) (c)(i) of OGRA Ordinance, 2002 was amended to stretch its extent of repeal by the Act of Parliament.

Furthermore, sources revealed that she had not taken plausible steps to increase oil storage available with OMCs with respect to their POL sales volume and did not adhere to the instructions by the federal government regarding the development of strategic oil storage.

Last but not least, she had tempered official records and issued warning letters to former OGRA executive director Shahid Nauman Afzal on already settled frivolous and superfluous departmental cases wherein he was already exonerated. Also, she gave preferential treatment to 17 petitioners of the oil industry who took a stay order from the Islamabad High Court on the implementation of Pakistan Oil Rules, 2016.

A spokesman of OGRA was contacted in order to get the OGRA chief’s stance on the said information. However, there was no response despite repeated attempts by this scribe.

It is pertinent to mention that PM Imran Khan will pay his first visit to China in the first week of November. Arrangements are being made for the visit and its date is yet to be finalized as PM Khan would pay a week-long official visit to China following an invitation of the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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Ahmad Ahmadani
Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is a an investigative journalist at Profit. He can be reached at [email protected].
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