AG declares OGRA chairperson’s appointment as illegal

ISLAMABAD: After the disclosure of dual nationality of an Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) member, the auditor general has now declared the appointment of OGRA Chairperson Uzma Adil Khan as illegal and asked the government to review its decision.

An audit report on the accounts of public sector enterprises for 2017-18, presented in the parliament, has disclosed the irregular appointment of the former Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited managing director as OGRA chairperson at Rs6 million per annum.

The audit report said according to clause 592 of the OGRA Ordinance, no person shall be appointed by the federal government as a member if he/she has any direct or indirect financial interest in, or has any connection which might reasonably be viewed as giving rise to a conflict of interest with any person involved in any regulated activity.

During the audit of OGRA for the year 2016-17, it was observed that the federal government appointed Uzma Adil as OGRA chairperson in July 2016 at a salary of Rs500,000 per month. The chairperson, before joining OGRA, served most of her career in SNGPL at positions including general manager, company secretary, chief financial officer, deputy managing director, and managing director. She was allowed to shift from SNGPL to OGRA without any gap, and notwithstanding the fact that OGRA was SNGPL’s regulator.

“Being SNGPL MD & CFO, she had recommended losses to OGRA. The same was now under her jurisdiction for review as the OGRA chairperson,” the audit report said, adding that it was found that the determination of final revenue requirement (FRR) of SNGPL for 2015-16 and estimated revenue requirement (ERR) for 2016-17 were allegedly decided in the favour of SNGPL by the chairperson. Similarly, the focus of OGRA on SNGPL’s controlling its operational expenses was also toned down in subsequent determinations.

The audit was of the view that the matter demanded attention at the government level while a clarification should be sought from the Ministry of Law and Justice in this regard.

The auditor general, in the report, further said that the matter was reported to the management on September 21, 2017. During the departmental audit committee (DAC) meeting held on February 1, 2018, the management explained that OGRA has not been compromised while deciding the issues of SNGPL and as such interest of consumers was fully safeguarded.

DAC directed OGRA to make a reference in this regard to Ministry of Law and Justice through the Cabinet Division to seek legal opinion, said audit report.

Moreover, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi had already initiated a probe against the appointment of Uzma Adil Khan as OGRA chairperson and sought personal file of the OGRA chairperson on November 22, 2018.

On the other hand, resignation from jobs in the near future is likely from various officials belonging to OGRA, PSO, SNGPL, SSGCL, NEPRA with effect to a decision of Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding dual nationality of civil servants.

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

3 COMMENTS

  1. No doubt Mrs.Uzma Adil is a legend lady and professional nobody can harm her she is smooth personality and anchorperson of OGRA.I wish her best of luck for her endeavors. All of these are rumors nothing else.

  2. Madam Uzma is an honest and upright professional whose clean reputation and record is known to all. She would never have accepted the task of heading OGRA if the appointment was not in strict compliance of the rules. According to clause 5.7 of the ordinance, a member who was appointed after retiring from an OGRA regulated comlanh (like SNGPL in Madam Uzma’s case) and gets pension from the previous job shall not considered as conflict of interest.
    The appointment as chairperson or OGRa was made months after her retirement from SNGPL in November 2015. She joined OGRA in March 2016 and has proved to be an exceptional chairperson in terms of working with sincerity, integrity and in the best interest of the nation and all stakeholders with fairness and by the rules.

  3. This should also not be forgotten that in Pakistan scenario, in most of the cases, honest and upright professionals are targeted for reprimand, may be being a few and far, compared to numberless dishonest and incompetent flourishing under the patronage of vested interest.

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