NA committee to investigate 50 CNG licenses


Not satisfied with transparency claims of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), a sub committee of National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum is investigating into licenses of 466 CNG stations. Relocation of 47 stations during banned period is also decided. And investigation into last 50 licenses, to ascertain whether they were awarded legally, will also take place.
Meeting of the sub-committee was held under its convener Sardar Talib Hassan Nakai. He ordered OGRA authorities to submit files of last 50 cases and the sub committee will look into each case whether procedure was followed or not. He said action would be taken against OGRA officials if any discrepancies were found as they have all claimed that no illegal work was done.
Nakai said investigations were started after acting MD OGRA and its current member Mansoor Muzaffar told the committee that irregularities took place in new licenses. However, Mansoor Muzaffar said he made a misstatement, as he was not aware of the complete situation. He said despite ban on issuance of new licenses, provisional licenses will have to mature into marketing licenses. He said had then chairman provided policy guidelines there would have been no confusion.
Nakai said buck was being passed on former chairman. He said Mansoor Muzaffar has misguided committee with his statement which he has now changed. We are not clear as now all officials were claiming there were no irregularities. However the committee will proceed with case to case basis to determine the truth.
Founding Chairman of OGRA, Chaudhry Munir Ahmad was there to clarify the issue to members. He claimed best international practices were adopted to make OGRA an independent body. Shahnaz Sheikh of PML-Q countered his claims and said he had vast powers and twisted rules for granting licenses. However, he said, he retired as Chairman OGRA in September 2008, while licenses were issued in 2009 and 2010.
Convener Talib Nakai pointed out that all the process for licensing was done in light of his letters that he sent to Prime Minister. Munir Ahmad said he had sought clarification from PM on the ban and he confirmed that it was implemented as per directions.
Chaudhary Barjees Tahir of PML-N said OGRA officials were misguiding them and were not ready to disclose irregularities. The only option available before the committee was to proceed on case to case basis, he claimed. He said they had relocated 47 CNG stations and only mentioned one CNG station that was relocated on directives of Prime Minister for one parliamentarian Riaz Hussain Peerzada. Executive Director OGRA Sarmad Aslam said relocation of 46 CNG stations were done under policy guidelines approved by cabinet division after first directive of PM.
Committee also ordered checking of degrees of all OGRA officials and whether they met the criteria required against their present posts. Shahnaz Sheikh of PML-Q demanded verification of degrees as ex-MD OGRA was ordered to be sacked by Supreme Court after his degree was found to be fake. She said registrar of OGRA was working illegally and he did not even have the required law degree. Despite repeated questions on whose recommendation the registrar was appointed, OGRA officials gave vague answers that he was on additional charge and working for the last four years and process was under way for appointing a qualified person.