ISLAMABAD - Accountability Court Islamabad is likely to take up National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) application soon for directing former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to appear before the NAB investigators and record his statement regarding appointment of Tauqir Sadiq as chairman Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), sources told The Nation on Tuesday.

After the retirement of Munir Ahmed on 6th September 2008, a summary was forwarded to then prime minister for the approval of advertisement of the post of chairman and the same summary was approved on 2-7-2008. The advertisements were published in national dailies and The Economist London for the post of chairman OGRA, the sources added.

The criteria for the post was predetermined as “highly qualified, preferably postgraduate from internationally recognised institute, competent professional of known integrity and having an experience of 20 years related to law, business, engineering, finance, accounting, economics, petroleum technology, public administration or management,” the sources said.

As per criteria, the chairman shall be an eminent professional of known integrity and competence with the minimum of 20 years experience in law and the both verbatim of advertisement criteria and OGRA ordinance necessitates the appointment should be done on the basis of high calibre and vast known experience, the sources said.

The selection of chairman of regulatory authority requires due diligence for confirmation of the credentials and qualifications claimed by the candidates and for this purpose National Commission for Government Reforms (NCGR) is a document that provides comprehensive guidelines for the appointment of CEO and heads of about 43 institutions of important nature, the sources added.

After the first advertisement published on 27-7-2008 the summary was moved by the then Cabinet Secretary Ghaussudin for the appointment of chairman OGRA on 4th November 2008 in which it was revealed that in response of advertisement 88 applications were received out of which 15 candidates were short-listed for consideration by the selection committee. The short-listing committee comprised of three members namely Atta Muhammad Raja (Late), then additional secretary cabinet division as chairman, Sikander Hayat Maiken, Joint Secretary Cabinet Division, and Javaid Nazir, Executive Director OGRA.

Due to the important engagements of the Prime Minister, the Secretary Cabinet was proposed as the chairman of the selection committee for the appointment of chairman OGRA in contrary to the law and rules and regulation as in this case prime minister should be the chairman of selection committee as in-charge of the cabinet division, the sources added.

The proposal sent with the short-listed candidates did not include the name of Tauqir Sadiq and on 22-1-2008 the then Principal Secretary to PM Siraj S Shamsuddin communicated the approval of Prime Minister with the change that chairman selection committee will be minister of water and power and cabinet secretary as member of the selection committee, the sources said.

The selection committee comprising Raja Pervez Ashraf, then minister of water and power as chairman, Zafar Mehmood Cabinet Secretary, and Munir Ahmed, Joint Secretary Establishment Division, as members, Sikander Hayat Maiken, Joint Secretary Cabinet Division as secretary and Shaukat Hayat Durrani, expert member, interviewed the candidates. The selection committee meeting held on 19th January 2009 reveals that four persons named Syed Hassan Nawab, Saeed Ahmed Khan, Hilal A Raza and Sibghat Mansoor did not appear for interview and three candidates namely Dr Nazir A Hawary, Ahmed Waqar and Abdul Latif Memon were absent sources added.

Similarly, 13 candidates were interviewed by the selection committee and the committee recommended three candidates namely Ijaz Ahmed Qureshi, Rashid Farooq and Tauqir Sadiq for the selection of OGRA Chairman, the sources added.

On 12-2-2009 the acting Principal Secretary Nargis Sethi communicated the direction of the PM to Cabinet Secretary as: “After interviewing the three proposed candidates the PM has directed a fresh panel having required qualification and relevant experience may be proposed for the post of Chairman OGRA”.

On 19-3-2009 re-advertisement was published and 92 candidates were scrutinised by the same scrutiny committee (short listing committee) for the post of Chairman OGRA, out of which 23 applicants were recommended for interview, the sources disclosed.

In the same way on 20th June 2009, the meeting of the selection committee held under the chairmanship of Minister of Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf and three candidates out of abovementioned 23 recommended applicants conveyed their inability to appear for interview and four others were absent so the committee interviewed 16 candidates and selected four candidates named Ahmed Waqar, Ifthikhar Ahmed, Dr Muhammad Abbass and Tauqir Sadiq, the sources added.  

On 20-7-2009 the Acting PS to PM Nargis Sethi conveyed on telephone the approval of Prime Minister regarding the appointment of Tauqir Sadiq as Chairman OGRA and subsequently establishment division issued the notification of Tauqir Sadiq, the sources added.

The sources said that contrary to the criteria advertised for the selection of Ogra chief, Tauqir Sadiq was appointed due to nepotism and favouritism as his qualification, experience and expertise were not matching the same criteria advertised dually.