Sunday November 28, 2021

‘Decision to release Rs770m to Shahzain Bugti intact’

July 14, 2020

ISLAMABAD: OGDCL Managing Director Shahid Saleem has confirmed the decision to release Rs 770.23 million to Jamhoori Watan Party Chief Shahzain Bugti remains intact.

However, the issue took a new turn when the MD refused to act on a note initiated by a general manager of the company, and directed the chief financial officer to act in the cheques issue.

The refusal is revealed in a correspondence between the MD and the general manager (Finance) of the Oil and Gas Development Company Ltd on July 6, 2020. The note was initiated by the GM (Finance).

Managing Director Shahid Saleem Khan while talking to The News confirmed his response to the note of the GM, saying that since the GM is not the officer of his level, so he had not asked him to prepare the cheques in his official response.

However, Khan said he had asked the chief financial officer (CFO) with regard to preparation of the cheques and its formal approval. So the decision to give Rs 770.23 million to Bugti is intact. The MD said the chief financial officer has also shown the case file to the GM to this effect.

The Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) is an allied party of the PTI government. The PTI government was in hot waters prior to getting approval for the budget 2020-21 as the Balochistan National Party (BNP) headed by Akhtar Mengal had left the government and joined the opposition.

The JWP also showed muscles to the government but at last the government managed to keep Bugti in its fold by succumbing to his demands. Bugti wanted the government to rehire 2500 acres of land which was de-hired in 2016 in the Uch Gas Field.

The OGDCL management on July 1, 2020 issued a new lease agreement, three cheques worth Rs 257,756,931 each to land owners of Uch Gas Field, who are Shahzain Bugti, Mir Guaram Bugti and Mir Chakar Bugti. The OGDCL new management increased the rent of 2,500 Acres by 36 per cent in one go to Rs 79,000 per acre.

However, on July 6, 2020, GM Finance of OGDCL Mohammad Azim sent a note to the OGDCL MD, seeking formal approval for three cheques of over Rs 770 million.

But surprisingly, the OGDCL MD has refused to approve the note owing to which the three cheques issued earlier to Bugtis bounced back. The three cheques were issued earlier on verbal approval of the managing director.

However, the officials of the Finance Department are quite upset, fearing the wrath of the NAB as they had issued the cheques to Bugtis just on the MD’s verbal approval.

According to the latest documents available with The News, GM Finance Mohammad Azim sent MD OGDCL Shahid Salim Khan a note which clearly says: “On the instruction of the MD/CEO, conveyed through the GM (CSR) & the SO to MD, the three cheques were issued on late night.

The cheque bearing number 21506833 of Rs 257,756,931 was issued to Sahzain Bugti. Likewise Mir Guaram Bugti was provided the cheque worth Rs 257,756,931 bearing number 21506836 and Mir Chakar Bugti was issued the cheque of the same amount bearing number 21506837.

The Finance & Accounts Department was advised to issue the cheques in view of urgency of the matter and it was assured that the case file along with an agreement and requisite approvals will soon be provided to the Finance and Accounts Department.

However, the requisite case file with necessary approvals has not yet been provided to this department, for want of which the accounting documentation still remains incomplete. “And so you are requested to arrange urgently the aforesaid case file with all necessary documents and approvals enabling the Finance & Accounts Department to complete the payment documentation for accounting and audit purposes.”

However, Shahid Saleem in response to the note initiated by the GM Finance said: “The note is factually incorrect. I did not issue any instruction to the GM (Finance) for preparation of cheques. I also did not issue any instruction through the GM (CSR) or the SO for the preparation of cheques. I was informed that the GM (Finance) is preparing some cheques regarding the Uch land and inquired about the status of these cheques.”

On July 2, this correspondent had reported a story — ‘Huge price of winning Shahzain Bugti back’. The version of the MD OGDCL was also included in the said story. The story was based on documents of new lease agreements between the OGDCL and Bugtis and it was learnt that the OGDCL MD has increased by 36 per cent the rent of additional 2,500 Acres owned by Bugti in Balochistan.