ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources yesterday was informed that the Federal Investigation Agency had registered a case against five persons over alleged embezzlement of Rs 570 million in OGDCL Employees Housing Society.

“An FIR against five persons, including three employees of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), has been registered,” an FIA director said, answering a query from a member of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources at a meeting presided over by its chairman Chaudhry Bilal Ahmed Virk.

Federal Petroleum and Natural Minister Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, briefing the committee, said this was a unique case as entire record of the housing society was destroyed and the patwari concerned of Chattar located on Old Murree Road had fled Dubai.

The committee members expressed serious concern over the re-appointment of an official of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) who had embezzled Rs 6.2 million and confessed to his crime in a court of law, besides returning Rs 0.5 million and assuring the court of returning another amount of Rs 0.7 million to the company. The committee directed the PSO chief financial officer to withhold his salary until the verdict of the court.

Earlier, the committee was informed that an internal inquiry was also conducted by the OGDCL management which established the company’s employees, Irfan Babar, presently working as general manager, Rasheed Janjua, general secretary of the society, and Aftab Shah, misused the logo, telephone numbers and offices of the OGDCL House, giving false impression that the housing society had the full patronage of the company. The case was registered against the three employees (serving and retired) on March 3, 2015. Currently, they are on pre-arrest bail.

“The FIA is doing every effort to get their bails cancelled so that Rs 570 million could be recovered from them or possession of the plots to the allottees of the housing society could be made possible,” the FIA director said. The developer of the society was arrested and is on bail now, he added.

The committee directed the authorities to remove Irfan Babar immediately from the post of the GM (store) and update the NA body about the affairs of society at the next meeting.

Petroleum Concessions Director General Saeedullah Shah, briefing the committee on the countrywide progress related to exploration activities of many exploration and production companies, said the licenses of 10 E&P companies had been revoked because of their failure to complete the work within the fixed time. He added his office had issued seven show-cause notices to the E&P companies for a long delay in undertaking the necessary work on the concessional blocks allocated to them from 1991-2010. Shah said the DG had issued nine notices to the E&P companies for their failure to initiate the work within the stipulated time.

The committee decided to convene another meeting on the performance of (E&P) companies in the next week.

Nasir Khan Khattak, a member of the standing committee, alleged KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak was diverting funds allocated to other districts to his home district Noshehra, and Swabi. He expressed his serious concern over the use of oil and gas royalty in Nowshera district, instead of spending the funds on the oil and gas producing districts of the province.

The committee was informed that the government had allocated Rs 7.7 billion for the ongoing gas supply schemes, of which Rs 3.8 billion had been utilised while another Rs 2 billion would be released soon and the rest of Rs 1.7 billion were going to be released after the utilisation of the released funds.