PPP favourites may become Lesco board members
LAHORE, Jan 31: The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) may soon get a new board of directors, allegedly stuffed with PPP workers and some of the personal friends and relatives of Federal Minister for Water and Power Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar.
Federal Secretary Nargis Sethi moved a summary to the effect in the third week of January, asking the Prime Minister Secretariat to approve replacement of seven directors. Interestingly, Lesco, out of nine distribution companies, is the only one to get its BoD replaced.
The proposed list of replacements includes Sheikh Parvez Ashraf, a class fellow and college friend of the federal minister who received his bachelors degree way back in 1967. Formerly, a squash player, he will now be looking after Lesco.
Another proposed member is Tariq Rehman, son of Mian Misbahur Rehman and Yasmin Rehman – a PPP MNA.
Moeed Yousaf is another hopeful, who, according to the ministry sources, is nephew of the minister for water and power. Zakria Butt, an active member of PPP who is also a member of the current Lesco BoD, has been retained in the proposed board as well.
Another surprising inclusion is Tahir Khalique, a personal friend and worker of the minister.
He served as media adviser for PIA when the minister was looking after the Defence Ministry, under which the PIA works. He is currently working as a PRO to the minister. He has been joint secretary and information secretary of the ARD movement.
Umair Siddique, a fresh graduate (2008), who, according to his CV, has been working as a procurement officer in a sugar mills, would now be running the biggest utility company in the country. His CV also indicates his experience in rice procurement and wheat trading.
According to the summary, the minister for water and power has already approved the summary.
“The summary is in gross violation of code ethics of governance and proposed roadmap of the power sector reforms,” says an official of the ministry. “The federal secretary cannot write directly to the PM Secretariat. Any change in the BoD has to come through the Cabinet Committee on Restructuring (CCOR), which is supposed to steer the sector out of current crisis,” he says.
“Secondly, the quality of proposed members leaves much to be desired. The Lesco BoD, which was once headed by learned industrialists like Yawar Ali came down to Rafay Alam and now these members. The Lesco is the biggest utility company. It had three chief executives in the last four months. The current CEO is looking after the charge of the post on a temporary basis as a stopgap arrangement. If the new board is formed of these guys, one can imagine what would happen to the company administratively and financially,” he said.