State-owned firm gives millions to MD’s NGO ISLAMABAD: Mari Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL) assigned corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects worth millions of rupees to a non-governmental organisation that was, until recently, headed by its incumbent managing director Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed.
Lt Gen Ahmed is a former deputy chairman of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority and was working as chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority prior to his appointment as the MD of MPCL on Jan 26, 2014.
MPCL is the third-largest Pakistani oil and gas exploration and production company.
According to documents seen by Dawn, Lt Gen Ahmed was also chairman of the Mountain and Glacier Protection Organisation (MGPO), an NGO. On the MGPO’s website, he was listed as chairman of its board of directors as recently as July 30. The board comprises former bureaucrats and environmentalists.
When contacted, the MPCL MD’s secretary advised Dawn to contact the company’s spokesperson retired Maj Amir Bilal to get official comments. Maj Bilal claimed that Lt Gen Ahmed had told him that he had resigned from the MGPO around three months ago. Therefore, there was no conflict of interest in the matter.
Mountain and Glacier Protection Organisation given projects in Punjab, Sindh
MGPO Chief Executive Officer Aisha Khan told Dawn that Lt Gen Ahmed had handed in his resignation a few months ago, but it was yet to be endorsed by the board of directors. She said that MPCL had selected the MGPO to maximise the impact of its CSR campaigns.
According to the documents, MPCL hired the NGO in January 2015 for “consultancy services for CSR schemes at Ghauri Block” in Jhelum district. The company approved Rs2.45 million for consultancy services for CSR activities which included construction of a basic health unit in Karunta and an additional block at the Government Girls High School in Pail Mirza.
In February 2015, MPCL assigned the MGPO to construct another basic health unit and an additional block for the same school for Rs7.85m.
In June this year, MPCL signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the NGO for another CSR programme in the Daharki oilfield in Sindh’s Ghotki district. Under the MoU, the company hired the MGPO as a consultant for three years, from June 1, 2016, to May 30, 2019.
As per the MoU, “MPCL will disburse agreed amount of Rs7 million to MGPO… for the year 2016-2017.” The agreement further said that “disbursement for 2017-2019 will be based on 8pc of approved annual CSR budget for the Daharki field.”
MPCL is jointly owned by the federal government, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and the Fauji Foundation.
Akhtar Niazi, spokesperson for the auditor general of Pakistan, said that since MPCL’s accounts were auditable by the auditor general’s office, it was required to make such arrangements under the procurement rules by inviting proposals from the open market. However, he said, MPCL’s board of directors did have the option of relaxing procurement-related rules under certain conditions.
The MPCL spokesperson claimed that since the company was not a purely government-run entity, it could relax the condition of procuring services under the procurement rules.
He said MPCL wanted to give the task (of CSR activities) to a professional and competent organisation. Since there is a dearth of organisations which can offer such services, the management has decided to hire the MGPO without any competition.