OGRA, energy ministry officials arrested in 2020 petroleum scandal

01:06 PM | 31 Oct, 2021
OGRA, energy ministry officials arrested in 2020 petroleum scandal

LAHORE – The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested a number of high-ranking officials of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, Pakistan oil marketing companies, and Ministry of Energy and Petroleum over alleged involvement in the 2020 petroleum scandal.

Reports in local media quoting sources said the Lahore chapter of federal investigators registered fresh cases against all accused after the findings of a probe report into the 2020 petrol crisis hinted at their alleged role in the scam.

The nominated accused in the cases include former chairperson OGRA Uzma Adil Khan, Noor-ul-Haq (former member finance), and Abdullah Malik (former member oil) of OGRA and their subordinates.

Meanwhile, FIA arrested five men including officials of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, and registered two separate cases against two oil marketing companies.

The detained officials include Fossil Energy CEO Nadeem Butt, Ogra Member Gas Amir Naseem, Ogra Member Oil Abdullah Malik, Energy, and Petroleum Ministry DG Oil Shafiullah Afridi, and Assistant Director Oil Imran Abro.

The FIA Lahore had registered the FIRs under Sections 420, 468, 471, 109 of PPC r/w section 5(2)47 of PCA and a section of AMLA 2010.

OGRA officials faced charges of illegally issuing licenses to oil companies while the Energy and Petroleum Division officials are accused of issuing illegal quotas of petroleum imports.

Reports quoting FIA officials said that the OMCs, in involvement with OGRA, had set up a network of illegal petrol pumps across Pakistan which caused a loss of billions of rupees to the national treasury.

The culprits issued OMCs illegal licenses and import quotas and buying and selling petroleum imports in violation of the law while they laundered out the dirty money earned through ill means. Meanwhile, the investigators have obtained physical remand of the apprehended men and started interrogating them.

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A joint probe team, which was formed in July last year to investigate a sudden shortage of fuel, held the OMCs primarily responsible for the crisis, mentioning that they stopped supplying fuel to petrol pumps despite having considerable stocks. The report mentioned that OMCs made between Rs6 to Rs8 billion during the June oil crisis.

It also mentioned that the state-owned PSO could not follow this illegal suit due to the prevailing situation consequently, as its market share in the period of shortage increased by nearly 20 percent and consequently, it sustained a loss of Rs8 billion in the process.