Petroleum Ministry misappropriated Rs 317b in fiscal year, AGP tells PAC


Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) Buland Akhtar Rana on Tuesday disclosed before members of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that financial misappropriations worth Rs 317 billion had been uncovered relating to audit objections and paras of the current year in connection with Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources. He also accused the ministry for non-compliance of orders regarding provision of records.
The members of the committee met under chairman Nadeem Afzal Gondal to review the audit paras and objections in connection with Ministries for Petroleum and Natural Resources and Religious Affairs. Rana told committee members that the audit department had also initiated introducing suo motu on various issues, following which when OGDCL MD was contacted; the MD avoided responding to queries on a scam worth Rs 14 billion.
The AGP said, following a request from Ministry for Petroleum and Natural Resources, a special audit stretching a period of eight months had been conducted, however ministry officials did not cooperate with the audit staff and avoided providing them with records and necessary documents.
Petroleum Secretary Waqar Masood clarified the ministry’s position on the occasion stating that audit officials were provided with all necessary documents and records and said it was wrong to accuse the ministry of misappropriations worth Rs 317 billion.
The committee directed the ministry to provide records to audit officials and to redress the issue by tendering their cooperation towards the audit staff. Audit officials also informed the body that in 2008, top officials of Sui Northern Gas Private Limited (SNGPL) gave a donation worth Rs 100 million to Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), as the then managing director of SNGPL and two other officials were part of the LUMS board of governors.
Taking serious notice of the issue, PAC Chairman Gondal said the amount should be refunded, and if a donation had to be given, it could have been made towards government schools which had poor infrastructures.
Petroleum secretary also said no improvements in circular debt had been witnessed and the system was working at its old pace. While responding to queries by members, OGDCL officials said board members were paid Rs 40,000 each for participating in a meeting of the board, while Pakistan State Oil (PSO) paid Rs 25,000 to each member for participating in a single meeting and SNGPL paid Rs 30,000 to each member for the same.
The committee directed audit officials to review the issue and to present a report before the accounts body.
PAC also summoned details of those behind gas thefts who had been imposed fines worth Rs 100 million or above, within a five-day time period.
Petroleum Secretary Masood informed the members that it was a priority of the government and the ministry to ensure gas supply to public consumers which contributed in saving 10-15 percent of gas, adding that the rest of the gas was supplied to the industrial sector.