Sep 282018

The Supreme Court on Friday while hearing a case regarding an increase in oil and gas prices ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to conduct an independent and neutral inquiry into the matter.

The court ordered the board of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) to submit a report on LNG contracts within 10 days and explain whether there was transparency in the agreements with Qatar. The court also ordered a report to be submitted on whether postings within PSO were made on the basis of merit or not.

The court maintained that ‘favoured’ persons were posted in PSO and received hefty salaries while the country was looted of its wealth.

The CJP enquired why the MD of PSO had received such a high salary and asked, “Was he Aristotle?”

The top judge said that the former managing director (MD) of PSO received a salary of Rs2.1 million to which Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan added that he wasn’t the only one at PSO who was receiving a high salary. He said that the general manager (GM) of PSO received Rs1.4m, the GM for HR received Rs1.3m and the GM for Fuel received Rs1.3m.

Justice Nisar said that all of them should be summoned to court and that details of expensive cars owned by PSO should also be provided.

The SC expressed displeasure at the hiring of a private lawyer for the former MD of PSO. The CJP asked the lawyer how much his salary was to which the lawyer responded that he would be paid Rs1.5m.

When quizzed about petrol prices, a PSO representative told the court that a 62 per cent tax is imposed on motor oil and high-speed diesel. He said that petrol pump owners are given a dealers’ commission of Rs3.47 per litre.

The Attorney General of Pakistan said that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) determines the prices. After the prices are determined, they are discussed with the Ministry for Petroleum, following which they are sent to the Cabinet for final approval.

Subsequently, the court ordered NAB to conduct an independent and neutral inquiry.

More details to follow

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