LAHORE: A Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) officer Anwarul Haq who faced an inquiry in millions of rupees Sukkuk bonds scandal and was punished, has been deputed as Member (Finance) against the Authority’s Act of 1958 under political influence.
According to documents available with News Lens Pakistan, the government established Wapda in 1958 as a semi-autonomous body. It is responsible for the development of hydel power and water sector projects in the country.
The documents say that Wapda has been raising funds through issuing bonds to the public for its needs for financing its developments projects and working capital. Wapda raised eight billion rupees in 2005 by issuing Sukkuk certificates to the investors. The Wapda Bond Cell (WBC) issued 300 physical certificates to the National Fertilizer Company (NFC) for its investment of Rs 750 million and Wapda paid profit on six monthly basis up to October 2008 to the NFC. In 2009, some Sukkuk certificates were frequently sold to Swift Engineering Solution (SES) and thus Wapda faced Rs 180 million loss. The chief accused Syed Muhammad Naqi Riaz who was serving as an accounts officer at Wapda fled abroad due to the criminal negligence of officers concerned in Wapda Bond Cell.
Haq was serving General Manager (Finance) and Director IST Sukkuk Company in 2009 when the fraud was committed. In one of Wapda’s inquiry held by General Manager Central (Power) and Director General (Insurance) Najeeb Tariq, the Authority held Haq guilty and took action against him as per Wapda Disciplinary Rules. Anwar was given major penalty of “Reduction to lower post as DG (BPS-20) for a period of one year and accordingly, the post of General Manager (Finance) Power was downgraded as Director General (Finance) for one year. The report of Auditor General of Pakistan and DG (External Audit) also pointed out that fraud in 1st Sukkuk Company occurred due to irresponsible and casual manner of the management, of which Haq was the director.
A confidential inquiry report of Wapda dated June 6, 2012, documents of which are available with News Lens Pakistan, says, “GM (Finance) Anwarul Haq was charged sheeted that he failed to observe the Rules of Business. He failed to perform supervisory responsibilities which caused Rs 180 million loss. Even, he did not report in time for placing the name of principle accused on Exist Control List (ECL) which helped him flee the country.” Thus, Haq was charge-sheeted on May 13, 2010.
According to statement recorded in the court by Haq, he had given only verbal orders to confiscate passport of Naqi Riaz. Interestingly, on August 5, 2009, Haq himself became complainant in the First Information Report (FIR) lodged with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIR).
On May 21, 2014, Haq was transferred and posted as General Manager (Finance). According to the official documents, General Manager (Courses and Training) Anwarul Haq was given additional charge of Member (Finance) on May 2, 2014.
Haq’s appointment against the Authority’s Act of 1958 has raised serious questions among all concerned circles.
Talking to News Lens Pakistan on telephone, General Manager (Pensions) in Wapda Najeeb Tariq, who was also inquiry officer in Wapda Sukkuk Bond said the corrupt officers have caused millions of rupees loss to Wapda but no one is there to nab them. “I was pressurized to the extent that nobody can imagine after the inquiry against Haq. I also faced immense pressure at the time of issuance of 2nd Sukkuk Bonds. How an officer can be appointed Member (Finance) who has been held guilty?”
Another senior Wapda official, seeking anonymity for fear to lose his job, lambasted the government for appointing the corrupt officials in Wapda. He blamed Water and Power Minister Abid Sher Ali for appointing guilty officer Haq as Member (Finance). “Abid Sher Ali brought him to the post of Member (Finance) and General Manager (Finance). No other person can appoint or remove him.”
However, Haq defended his position while talking to News Lens Pakistan on telephone, saying, “I was penalized for three years due to a person at higher post in Wapda despite the fact that I was given one year punishment.”
He said, “Now, the top gun is retired and an honest person has taken charge of Wapda. He has appointed his like-minded another honest officer (me) to the position which I deserve.”
When his attention was drawn to the fact that his appointment was against the law, he was quick to respond, “I am not Member (Finance). I hold Additional Member (Finance) post which is not against the law.” Anwar denied any connection with Minister Abid Sher Ali. “I have committed no corruption and injustice has been done to me in the past. I got this position on merit.”
When News Lens Pakistan was probing into the story, a Public Relation Officer from Wapda Abid Saeed called this scribe and said, “Haq is an honest officer. There was no need to raise this issue in media.”
Minister Abid Sher Ali could not be contacted despite repeated attempts by News Lens Pakistan on his cell phone.