ISLAMABAD    -   A parliamentary committee yesterday grilled the officials of the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) for remaining oblivious to the embezzlement of Rs239million and asked the power division to direct all the Discos to provide details in this regard to the committee.

The senate standing committee on power that met with Senator Fida Muhammad Khan in chair said that whether IESCO was asleep when embezzlement of millions of rupees a day was being done by the officials of the company.

The committee noted that embezzlement was underway in IESCO billing department for the last four years, but neither the company nor the audit unearthed it.

The CEO of IESCO Shahid Iqbal told the committee that through the bogus and fake stamps the electricity bills were been collected from power consumers and in a single day Rs43 million embezzlement was done through this process.

He also admitted that this process continued for last four years. We have terminated the officers of the finance department. Out of 12 people involved in the scam, 10 were suspended while two others were terminated from jobs, he informed.

He also said that power consumers are also involved in this fraud, as they were depositing their bills in revenue officer-I with 30 percent discounts in their bills.  

The head of revenue office of circle-I was found involved in this fraud. Cumulatively, Rs239millions have been embezzled in years by fraudulently depositing bills while the amount was not deposited in the company accounts. However he said that around Rs95million of the embezzlement amount has been recovered so far.

The revenue officer of circle-I Muhammad Naeem was representing the gang, and he has been arrested at Peshawar Airport after he came back from Hajj. 

He said that now the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is handling and further investigating the case.

The committee chairman Fida Muhammad Khan asked that whether IESCO was asleep when embezzlement of millions of rupees a day was being done by the officials of the company. It means such situation could be also in other distribution companies.

Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak asked the power division to direct all DISCOs to check their records and provide the details to the committee. Besides, also provide us details of such cases in companies for last ten years.

On this, the secretary Power said that he would release orders to all companies to do so. Wazir questioned that why did the private sector Audit firm failed to unearth this fraud. The committee would also discuss this issue with the officials of the auditor general of Pakistan in its next meeting.

Senator Nauman Wazir said that the companies should not waste money on installation of AMI meters, the solution for controlling power theft/kundas is Aerial Bundled Cables (ABC).

Senator Siraj ul Haq suggested that why the government is not introducing the pre-paid card system in power sector, as it was succefully working in other countries.