Punjab Chief Secretary Capt ® Zahid Saeed has sought details of the public sector companies established in the province from all the administrative secretaries within one day.

Surprisingly enough, the CS office didn’t know the details of the government-owned companies where government officers were deputed on contract or deputation and whether terms and conditions were settled by it or not.

Moreover, the profile of Chief Operating Officers (CEOs), salary, service structure of other key position holders of the companies was also demanded from the departments.

Details sought to include a total financial outlay of the company, whether it was audited or not, if yes the last date of the audit. Details like whether the company was registered under companies ordinance 1984 or Companies Act 2017, grant of the loan from the Finance department, CEO status whether he is a civil servant or a private person, his date of appointment and his per month perks. Other information sought by the CS office include under which department the company was established, nature of the charge with the CEO i.e. substantial or additional, mode of appointment by transfer or through competitive selection process, his BPS, tenure of the appointment, extension if any, his performance and whether terms and conditions got settled by the S&GAD or not.

In a circular, the S&GAD wrote to all the department heads to furnish details to the CS office. Two proformas have also been circulated along with the covering letter.

The CS took this emergency step on the writ petition of Sania Kanwal against alleged corruption in Punjab Saaf Pani Company. Details were sought of the Punjab Saaf Pani Company like its CEO, his qualification, salary and other privileges etc.

On the last date of hearing the court had expressed serious dismay and censure the Chief Secretary on not furnishing the details of public sector companies. The LHC judge Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi said the answer must be submitted as to why the government was reluctant to submit details of the public sector companies. He also observed that the chief minister would be summoned if the details were not submitted on the next hearing.

The Punjab government was to submit details like how the companies were established and what criteria of induction of the officers, their salaries and perks and privileges was adopted by it.

The judge questioned one officer of grade-20 is getting Rs200,000 while other of the same grade is drawing Rs 2 million. It also falls under the ambit of corruption. It has become a tradition that a company is established and then the entire record is set on fire, the judge maintained. It was also said that the court will not allow law of the jungle and will protect the taxpayers’ money; Justice Naqvi said adding due to corruption of the officers, every citizen is under debt.

Moreover, the petitioner Sania Kanwal, in her petition also stated billions of rupees from national exchequer were being spent on foreign tours of the Saaf Pani Company’s officials besides the purchase of bulletproof vehicles from the money allocated for provision clean drinking water to the public. The court made queries like it be informed that which project was for which the interviews were being held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Punjab Saaf Pani Company CEO Nabeel Javed was not available for comments. Javed, the company CEO for North, was drawing Rs1.4 million as salary as he also told the court. Capt ® Usman Yunus, is the other company CEO for south who replaced Khalid Sherdil, son of former Chief Secretary AZK Sherdil.  

However, an authority DG requesting anonymity said that the government sector companies and authorities were not being run on uniform rules. He said that in one authority the officers were getting in millions while in other they were drawing just routine salaries.

Earlier, the court had also summoned the Anti-Corruption director general Brig ® Muzaffar Ranjha to appear in person over the alleged corruption of Rs7 billion in the company.

The CEO of the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Company drew Rs 1.5 million per month. Likewise, there are more such public sector bodies besides authorities, like Lahore Transport Company, Lahore Parking Company, Lahore Waste Management Company, Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company, South Punjab Forest Company, Punjab Health Initiative Management Company, Punjab Power Development Company, Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Limited, Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Pvt) Ltd, Quaid-e-Azam Hydel Power (Pvt) Ltd, Punjab Municipal Development Fund Company and others. They were set up under Public Sector Companies Corporate Governance Rules, 2013 or other relevant laws. The CEOs of these companies and other key position holders were drawing different salaries but in lacs.

An administrative secretary also on anonymity said that the appointment of CEOs in the newly established district health and education authorities was underway. He said that huge packages for these CEOs would further discriminate salary structures on the district level as well that had already badly affected the provincial and federal service officers working in the provincial headquarter.