LAHORE: Apropos to a news item published in certain daily newspapers on the audit report which stipulated that there was a conflict of interest in the appointment of Uzma Adil Khan as OGRA chairperson, the authority has responded in detail by reproducing the legal advice of the Law Division that was conveyed to the Cabinet Division in this regard on 24-05-2018.
As per law, “The Chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority shall be an eminent professional and known integrity and competence with a minimum of twenty years of related experience in law, business, engineering, finance, accounting, economics or petroleum technology, public administration or management.
“Sub-section (2) of section 5 of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002 (XVII of 2002) says that no person shall be appointed by the federal government as a member if he 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 and no person appointed as a member shall during his term in office have or maintain any direct or indirect financial interest in any person involved in any regulated activity and shall not at any time during their term of office engage himself in any other services, business, vocation or employment with any other person.
“Sub-section (3) ibid says that no member shall take part in any decision, if such member is, in any way, whether directly or indirectly concerned or interested in the decision, nor shall such member’s presence count for the purpose of forming a quorum at the time of any such decision.
“In this case, Uzma Adil, after her retirement from Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, was appointed as the OGRA chairperson. The issue of conflict of interest as stated above is relatable during the term of office. In our view, her holding office in SNGPL prior to her appointment as chairperson does not raise the issue of conflict of interest as she had already severed connection having been retired from the position held in SNGPL.”
It is pertinent to mention that in the past, OGRA members, who held positions in the Sui companies at various posts, were also appointed as chairmen, which clearly shows that there has been no conflict of interest since the selection criteria laid down in the Ordinance 2002 clearly stipulates that the member should have related experience.
OGRA ex-chairman Munir Ahmed (7-9-2000 to 6-9-2008), prior to his appointment, served as SSGCL and SNGPL managing director; former OGRA vice chairman Javed Inam (7-9-2000 to 19-12-2006), prior to his appointment in OGRA served as SNGPL managing director; and OGRA ex-member (Finance) Mehboob Elahi (23-9-2002 to 7-7-2003), prior to his appointment, served as SNGPL senior general manager.