PM Abbasi seeks appointment of favoured person as OGDCL managing director

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–Abbasi rejects summary seeking appointment of full-time director

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has rejected a summary seeking appointment of a full-time Managing Director (MD) of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) after a passage of almost a year, it was reliably learnt.

Ironically, Pakistan’s largest Exploration and Production (E&P) company –OGDCL—has been deprived of a permanent director for the last four and half years.

The two efforts of finding the new MD hit a snag when then-petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, now the current premier, had allegedly created hurdles in the appointment of the new director. Due to certain steps in past, the company is now in the hands of an acting director who was handpicked by PM Abbasi.

Sources privy to the development informed Pakistan Today that this time once again, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, now being a prime minister, has rejected the one-year-long efforts of finding a new MD.

Subsequently, the PM advised the petroleum division to immediately appoint a permanent MD, who must meet certain conditions—first time in OGDCL history. Following which the petroleum division advised the oil and gas company to issue a new advertisement and allegedly advised that the advertisement must contain certain conditions for the candidates applying for the lucrative slot.

A copy of the petroleum division’s letter issued to the OGDCL for the appointment of chief executive officer/managing director disclosed that the minister in-charge (petroleum division) has been pleased to desire the post may be re-advertised immediately and fifteen (15) days minimum period should be given to the applicants.

“Applicants should have experience as CEO/D of E & P Company with $ 100 million turnovers,” said petroleum division’s letter.

According to letter, the division has also advised the OGDCL to immediately take necessary action on the instructions of the minister in-charge (petroleum division).

“It is a sheer violation of procedure. The petroleum division has advised the OGDCL to recruit a candidate, who fulfill certain conditions devised by the petroleum division on the advice of PM Abbasi,” claimed sources.

Officials at the petroleum division on anonymity said that it was the right of OGDCL board of directors (BoD) to set conditions for a fair and transparent recruitment process. They further said setting up conditions for the vacant slot revealed bad intentions of the ruling leadership.

The division is not authorised to issue certain advice to the OGDCL for the appointment of new MD under the Petroleum Division Companies Ordinance, the sources said, claiming that PM Abbasi was protecting his own interests by creating hurdles in the appointment of a fulltime MD.

Now, Abbasi being a prime minister is influencing the petroleum division and the OGDCL to appoint his blue-eyed to the top slot, they added.

“PM Abbasi wants to immediately appoint a close friend (former MD of Mari Petroleum Company) as the managing director of the OGDCL,” claimed petroleum division’s officials.

 

It is vital to note here that the board of directors had earlier conducted interviews to fill the vacant slot in September 2016  and forwarded a summary to the ministry that contained names of the shortlisted candidates.  Then petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also interviewed these candidates. However, due to no headway in the process, the company remains without an MD. PM Abbasi during his tenure as a petroleum minister advised Zahid Mir to run the affairs of the company on an ad-hoc basis, instead of appointing a full-time MD.

Sources said that Zahid Mir was very close to PM Abbasi and his contract would expire in March 2017; following which PM Abbasi is all out to immediately fill the said slot with his desired person.

It is worth mentioning here the absence of a permanent MD has badly damaged the OGDCL during the on-going tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Despite several promises, the PML-N government remained aloof to the appointment of a full-time managing director.