Chairman KP energy body, BoD members quit
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government received another jolt when Shakil Durrani, the chairman of the board of directors of the Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization (Pedo), resigned due to its unsatisfactory state of affairs.
Earlier in February, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission Director General Lt Gen (R) Hamid Khan had resigned when the provincial government diluted his powers by introducing amendments in the Ehtesab Commission Act 2014. In his resignation letter, he wrote that the amendments had made the post of director general redundant and rendered the accountability process controversial and questionable.
Shakil Durrani, a retired civil servant with a good reputation who had served as chief secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, federal secretary and Wapda chairman, in his resignation letter complained that Pedo was suffering from incompetence, lack of effective systems and a dysfunctional organizational structure.
“I tried a number of times to get matters redressed at the appropriate levels but found to my consternation that both the Minister Energy Mr Muhammad Atif and the CEO Pedo Mr Akbar Ayub had a near total disinterest in improving matters. They wanted to retain arbitrary control,” he noted.
Shakil Durrani, who served as chairman of Pedo’s board of directors for nearly six months, noted that the organization could not complete even one hydropower project in three years, including one and a half years under the new management. “The press conference of the Minister Energy on 20th June was a figment of his imagination when he claimed that 400 MW have been completed. Even the two projects initiated by the ANP government, Machai and Ranolia, completed in July 2015 at inflated costs, are not generating power because the transmission lines have not been completed,” he stressed. He pointed out that the KP government is losing Rs40 million per month because of the negligence of Pedo as no power is being generated.
According to Shakil Durrani, the Minister of Energy Atif Khan and the CEO Akbar Ayub tried desperately to avoid the enquiry that he wanted to hold in his capacity as the chairman of the Pedo board of directors.
“I was also very upset when I learnt that the CEO and his private sector team had agreed to the Extension of Time with costs of Ranolia power project. Without taking the approval of the Board, an additional amount of nearly Rs700 million was granted to the contactor. I wanted to hold an enquiry into this as well but the CEO stalled it,” he maintained.
Shakil Durrani lamented that the Pedo’s top management does what it fancies as it has a defective and dysfunctional organizational structure without a core team of professionals. He felt rules are used to avoid decision-making and for diverting responsibility. “There is very poor evaluation and decision-making systems, little or no ownership by the CEO and his newly inducted private-sector team and an absence of transparency and accountability. Despite repeated discussions and Board decisions the new management is not responsive,” he contended.
“Today the CEO, the CFO and some newly inducted non-engineering personnel selected on whims from the private sector are operating in a virtual non-system,” he noted. He argued that no new project has been commissioned because of mismanagement and delayed decision-making. Claiming that some projects started over three years back are stuck up for various reasons, he said the only project actually functioning is Malakand-III that was initiated in 2002 and completed in 2006 and is providing power worth over Rs2,000,000,000 annually.
Shakil Durrani disclosed that the CEO has been authorized salary of Rs1.4 million per month and is now seeking to raise it to an unwarranted Rs1.8 million. “The new CFO and the HR personnel have reportedly been allowed between Rs600,000 to Rs800,000 per month. Chairman Wapda gets about Rs600,000 per month and the Members in Wapda around Rs300,000. Wapda is hundred times larger than Pedo,” he added.
According to Shakil Durrani, the immense differences in the salaries of the newly-appointed private sector personnel and the existing staff of Pedo has caused heart-burning and paralyzed the working of Pedo. He claimed the existing Pedo engineers and staff do not have a working relationship with the CEO.
He noted that the position of CEO required an engineering degree and was advertised as such. “The advertisement was withdrawn and the requirement of an engineering degree was replaced with a general degree to accommodate Akbar Ayub who was sponsored by (PTI leader) Asad Umar because of his connection from ENGRO,” Shakil Durrani alleged.
He explained that bids have been received for the six new IPPs by Pedo which the CEO and Minister are not sharing with anyone for whatever purpose. He added that he didn’t have much faith in the present Pedo and its consultants to evaluate and select the bids fairly and objectively.
According to Shakil Durrani, he had received complaints against the chief planning officer in the Energy Department who has spent a long time there, and one of Pedo’s lawyer. He said the chief planning officer needed to be shifted away from decision-making process but the CEO and the Minister wished to retain them.
“With the present dysfunctional structure and poor systems and the inability of Pedo to rectify matters, I do not see much hope for the future. In my letters to the Chief Minister I had hoped that he would understand the implications. Since no corrective measures were taken I had no option but to resign from the honorary position of Chairman Pedo,” he added.
Khalid Mustafa adds from Islamabad: Besides Shakil Durrani, chairman of board of directors, all the technical and professional members of the Pedo board tendered the resignation.
This debacle of Pedo BoD occurred when corruption by the top management had reached new heights and was not being controlled, a BoD member Shahid Sattar, former member energy of Planning Commission, told The News.
The other six members submitted resignations as a protest against the rampant corruption by the top management of the organisation in various hydropower projects. The top management wanted to have a tamed and rubber stamp board of directors to given green signal to the all irrational decisions about various projects. The members who resigned include Shahid Sattar, Younas Marwat, Sardar Tariq and Sarwar Mohmad.
“The BoD had emerged as a stumbling block in the way of the corrupt practices being carried out by the top notches of Pedo in various projects.”
Unravelling some salient features of corruption story of the Pedo management, another BoD member told The News that the board of directors had halted the release of Rs1.5 billion to the contractor of Lawi hydropower project, but the top gun of Pedo wanted to release the said amount to the contractor without any audit just to earn his commission out of it. He said the top management wanted to release the said amount prior to June 30 to avoid the lapse of funds.
Apart from that, the BoD did not accord approval to the additional amount of Rs1.3 billion incurred on the completion of Ranolia hydropower project. And on top of that, the BoD had also initiated inquiry into the two hydropower projects that were completed but no transmission line was laid down owing to which electricity is not being injected to the national grid which is why the province is braving a loss of Rs50 million every month.