Ansar Abbasi
Thursday, October 01, 2015
From Print Edition
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ISLAMABAD: Rangers’ report on Dr Asim covers a doubtful “statement” of two top officials of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), who alleged that the company’s present management and BoDs led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s adviser had “illegally” benefited the KESC for more than Rs100 billion at the cost of possible bankruptcy of the state-owned company.

Both the Adviser Miftah Ismail and MD SSGC Khalid Rehman categorically denied that not even a single penny from KE’s payable to SSGC has been written off or waived by the SSGC BoDs and what is reflected in Rangers’ report in this respect has no grounds.

The “source report” of the Rangers on Dr Asim, recently shared with the NAB and partially reported by The News, revealed a lot of details of alleged corruption as well as the MQM connections of Dr Asim Hussain but here too doubts have been created by the allegation that Dr Asim was getting Rs 2 billion a day as kickbacks from Pakistan State Oil.

The two top SSGC officials — Deputy Managing Director Shoaib Warsi and Chief Finance Officer Amin Rajput — are quoted by the Rangers’ report to have told the authorities during investigations that LPS (late payment surcharge) matter of KESC was settled by the SSGC management and its BoDs in violation of law and in disregard to the Ogra conditions. They added, according to the report that by this decision of SSGC’s BoDs, the SSGC parked Rs31 billion of LPS chargeable from KE.

The SSGC BoDs chairman and Prime Minister’s adviser Miftah Ismail when approached said that he was surprised how could someone from SSGC give such a statement. He categorically said that neither any such decision was taken nor the SSGC or its Board has any authority under the law to waive off any amount of receivables from any third party including KESC.

He said that the KESC has not been paying SSGC’s dues for 5-6 years but is now paying the current bills. He said there is a dispute between SSGC and KESC on the issue of LPS, which too, Miftah Ismail insisted, has not and cannot be written off or reduced by the SSGC.

He said on the same question it is the SSGC that has approached the court of law and wants to receive all the receivables from the KESC.

According to the NAB sources the status of such statements (of SSGC officials) is nothing more than “allegations” till such time that the matter is probed by the Bureau, which is presently inquiring into three different aspects of Dr Asim’s alleged corruption.

MD SSGC Khalid Rehman, when approached, was also surprised how such a statement could be given by the SSGC officials, who know the subject. He categorically denied that any undue or illegal favour had been done to the KESC.

He said the KESC was defaulting on payments of SSGC which had substantially increased to Rs58 billion that included Rs25 billion surcharge (for late payments).

He said the issue as reflected in the “source report” lacked clarity of the subject and had some out of context narrations. He categorically said no one was waiving off even a single penny from receivables for which the SSGC had even approached legal forums.

The MD SSGC said the KESC is not only now paying its current dues to the SSGC, but is also clearing the past dues. Last year, he said, the KESC paid Rs 6.5 billion as past dues. He said in order to recover the receivables from KESC, minister for water and power had set up a committee.

The relevant part of “source report” pertaining to the present government’s tenure says during investigation Shoaib Warsi and Amin Rajput revealed that with regard to KESC issues an urgent meeting was called in Islamabad that was presided over by federal ministers Khawaja Asif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The “source report” said the meeting was also attended by top managements of KESC and SSGC including a nominee of Abraaj Group. After detailed discussions, the federal ministers verbally directed that the outcome of the meeting will be shared later on.

“Thereafter, Miftah Ismail (Chairman BoDs SSGC) directed Khalid Rehman (MD SSGC) that as per the desire of FMs (Federal Ministers), LPS issue of KE (Karachi Electric) needs to be resolved.”

The report added, “The MD SSGC directed Amin Rajput (CFO SSGC) that LPS matter of KE should be brought before the Audit Committee of SSGC for approval.”

The “source report” said as per SSGC rules each and every kind of approval from the BoDs mandatorily needs prior approval of the Audit Committee of SSGC’s BoDs.

“Mr Amin Rajput on instructions of MD SSGC brought forward the proposal of LPS matter of KE before the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee objected in clear terms and disapproved the proposal,” the report said, adding, “Khalid Rehman (MD SSGC) directed Amin Rajput (CFO SSGC) to prepare a note/proposal for BoDs (bypassing Audit Committee).”

Rajput consequently prepared the note as was desired by the MD SSGC, the Rangers report said, adding that the note was jointly signed by the MD and the CFO. It was then presented before the SSGC BoD. The source report said, “Miftah Ismail (Chairman SSGC BoDs) approved in haste the proposal with regard to LPS chargeable from KE with split decision, wherein MD SNGPL and one director of SSGC submitted dissenting notes.”

The “source report” added that Warsi and Rajput disclosed that by this decision of SSGC’s BoDs, the SSGC parked Rs31 billion of LPS chargeable from KE.

The report claimed that it benefited the KESC for more than Rs100 billion “if calculated through conversion cost”.

“As a consequence, the State utility (SSGC) eventually may face a declaration of bankruptcy,” the “source report” revealed. It said both Warsi and Rajput told during investigations that LPS was an Ogra condition and BoDs had no power to do that they did in this case to “illegally” benefit the Karachi Electric.

The MD SSGC, however, told The News that the BoD meeting that decided the matter relating to KESC was also attended by the company’s audit committee members as well as the SSGC’s legal advisers to ensure that the company’s interest were not compromised in any manner.

Following Dr Asim’s arrest both Amin Rajput and Shoaib Warsi were also detained by the Rangers. Rajput has been released but Warsi is said to be still in the Rangers custody.