LAHORE: Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) revealed that MPA Ramzan Siddique Bhatti and MPA Kiran Dar’s appointment with Board of Directors of Public Sector companies was against the law.

The Commission made this revelation before a single bench of the Lahore High Court headed by Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi. The Commission’s counsel told the judge that both MPAs concealed their political affiliation in order to get their appointment with BoDs.

The  SECP further told the court that rules of the commission does not allow any elected member of the parliament to be officer holder of any public sector company. The appointment of MPAs with BoD was unlawful under Section 3(7) of public sector corporate governance rules 2013, the counsel said. The counsel further said that Kiran Dar and Ramzan Siddique Bhatti kept their political affiliation secret and joined BoDs of Lahore Parking Company and inquiry against them had also been initiated. On it, Justice Qureshi observed that it was surprising that such unlawful acts were happening with so openness. The judge directed the counsels of the Public Sector Companies to come up with arguments by the next hearing. The court adjourned further hearing until May 18.

Opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed filed petition through his counsel Advocate Sheraz Zaka. During the hearing, Mr. Zaka argued that the audit reports of district governments of the Punjab had never been presented to the PAC nor laid before the house. He submitted that the auditor general of Pakistan wrote a letter to governor, Punjab On September 7, 2012 and reminded him to fulfill his statutory obligations by placing audit reports of district governments before the committee of the Punjab Assembly as well as before the house.

He said that this letter was also forwarded to chief minister but it was not implemented so far. He said that the office of the auditor general also wrote to secretary of finance on June 4, 2014 to present the audit reports on the accounts of the district governments for the financial years 2001-2002 to 2012-2013 before the PAC but all in vain.

He said that the PAC was told in a meeting on September 15, 2015 that the audit reports of the district governments had been received from governor and submitted to the chief minister but the reports had not been placed before the committee so far. He asserted that according to section 108 of Punjab Local Government Act, 2013 the audit reports of the auditor general shall be considered by the PAC.

He submitted that aid the PAC was the main instrument of parliamentary system and its strengthening was vital to ensure accountability of public funds and good governance, which would eventually eliminate corruption from the public sector. He prayed to the court to direct the respondents to place the audit reports of the district governments 2001-2002 to 2014-2015 before the PAC as well as Punjab Assembly.  He further prayed to issue directions to implement Public Sector Companies Corporate Governance Rules 2013, which do not allow any legislator to work as director. He also requested that the federal law ministry, the chief secretary Punjab and companies to abstain from appointing any member having a political or any legislative role and also to declare the exercise of authority by these MPAs as directors illegal, null and void.