Alleged malfeasance in LNG deal: Ogra chief moves MoI for removal of name from ECL

Business Recorder

Chairperson Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has approached the Ministry of Interior for removal of her name from the Exit Control List (ECL) placed due to alleged misuse of authority. Uzma Adil”s name was placed on ECL on the request of the National Accountability Bureau which is conducting an inquiry into the 15-year LNG contract signed with Qatargas and the alleged illegal award of LNG tender to Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited (ETPL).

She says that former Ogra chairman Saeed Ahmed Khan had issued the license for LNG transmission and not her.

Some reports suggest that the chairperson Ogra as Managing Director SNGPL in September 2015 initialed a General Sale Agreement (GSA) subject to approval of the SNGPL Board of Directors. The managing directors of Pakistan State Oil, Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) and SNGPL all signed the tripartite agreement spelling out their responsibilities and risk sharing in supply of LNG under the agreement with Qatargas.

She wrote a letter to the Ministry of Interior dated April 23, 2019 and contended that “I have categorically explained to the NAB authorities that the license of ETPL was awarded before my joining Ogra as chairperson, by the then chairman Saeed Ahmed Khan and the then members of the authority.”

The notification of those placed on the ECL, circulated by the Ministry of Interior on Friday did not include Chairman Saeed Ahmed Khan”s name but that of Ms Uzma Adil and (i) former Prime Minister and Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi(ii) Chairman Board of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC)(iii) Miftah Ismail (iv) Mubin Saulat, Managing Director Interstate Gas Systems (v) Imranul Haq, former MD of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) (vi) Shahid Islamuddin, former MD of PSO and (vii) Aamir Naseem, member Ogra.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Uzma Adil as chairperson Ogra on June 20, 2016. The audit report for the year 2017-18 was submitted to the Parliament and it is maintained in Audit Para 2.5.4.3 that there was a conflict of interest in the appointment of Uzma Adil Khan as chairperson Ogra as before joining Ogra, she was managing director of SNGPL and also held the post of chief financial officer, company secretary, etc. She was allowed to join Ogra from SNGPL without any gap period as required under the law.

An audit objection was also raised against the appointment of Member Ogra Aamir Naseem – of a conflict of interest as at the time of selection Aamir Naseem was actively serving as Senior General Manager, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, and was involved in activities regulated by Ogra. He was also given acting charge on February 2015 as Chairman Ogra when Saeed Ahmed Khan was sent on forced leave as he was held responsible for the oil crisis in January 2015.

In the letter, Uzma Adil said that she appeared before the NAB on April 17, 2019 to record her statement and that “I have responded to all verbal queries raised by the NAB and am in the course of submitting written response to a questionnaire given by NAB”.

When contacted, spokesperson Ogra confirmed that a letter has been written to the Ministry and this (investigation) is a routine matter. The spokesperson claimed that she appeared as witness in the NAB inquiry.

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