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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel, on Tuesday, directed the Petroleum Ministry to prepare a plan in coordination with the Attorney General of Pakistan to retrieve billions of rupees stuck in litigations. A sub-committee of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) met here on Tuesday under convener Syed Naveed Qamar.

The committee examined the audit report of the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) for 2010-2011 to 2017-18. The convener expressed his utter displeasure over the huge public money recoverable from individuals and companies, which succeeded in obtaining stay order from courts in various cases.

Naveed Qamar said the attorney general should come in the next meeting of the committee to expedite court cases pertaining to the Petroleum Division. The committee deferred the discussion on billions of rupees audit paras due to litigation in various cases.

In one case, the auditor observed that the Petroleum Division neither initiated action for recovery of liquidated damages from 12 E&P companies who failed to discharge their work obligations in licenced areas nor provided proof of transfer of the un-discharged work obligations to other areas during financial year 2013-14.

This resulted in non-realisation of liquidated damages of Rs7.4 billion. The management explained that eight blocks have been revoked. In five blocks, the companies have challenged revocation in courts and cases are being pursued actively in the courts.

In three revoked exploration licences, recovery suits have been filed by Petroleum Division against the companies. One block Sanjawai has been terminated due to prolonged force majeure beyond three years, company has been advised to pay LDs. The matter is being processed further. In three blocks (Shahana, Samandar and Shaan) considerable work has been done, however, further progress is held up due to security clearance issue.

Two blocks, Saruna and Daphroare facing law and order situation. In yet another case, audit observed that an amount of Rs 5 million and Rs 22 million was outstanding against the Privatisation Commission and Pak-China Fertilizer respectively, since long.

The record pertaining to said outstanding amount of Rs28 million was demanded from the management on November 6, 2014 but it was not provided. The management stated that a letter was received from the Privatisation Commission that advisory fee to international legal counsel would be initially paid by the companies i.e. the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Ltd (SNGPL) equally and which will be adjusted after against the sales proceeds and in case of Pak Fertilizer, the matter is sub-judice.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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