NTDC MD’s controversial stay in office: Senate panel tells PD to take action against ‘facilitators’

The Senate Standing Committee on Power has directed the Power Division to take action against officials who facilitated continuation of Manzoor Ahmed as MD, NTDC after his retirement and a summary to be sent to the Cabinet for giving charge to any other officer for six months.

According to minutes of the meeting held recently, the Committee observed that the seat of DMD System Operator), NTD, Ali Zain Banatwala was in complete violation of conflict of interest and must be removed immediately; and in case Manzoor Ahmed intends to continue as DMD (AD&M) he must be paid the same salary package of Rs380,000 monthly at par with the other sitting DMD, NTDC, Muhammad Ayub.

Standing Committee Chairman Senator Saifullah Abro asked about the recruitment process of DMD (SO), NTDC. In response Shakeel Qadir, AS Power Division stated that the post was created by the Board NTDC on December 09, 2021 on a contract basis. The advertisement was published in daily newspapers dated December 26, 2021 with the closing date of January 31, 2022. In response a total of thirty applications were received out of which six candidates were shortlisted and issued interview call letters accordingly. The BoD on March 13, 2022 interviewed the six shortlisted candidates. After the interviews the Board of Directors constituted an interview panel to further conduct follow-up interviews of the two shortlisted candidates.

The follow up interviews were conducted on March 20, 2022. The BoD in its meeting held on March 22, 2022 after detailed discussions and deliberations based on the recommendations of interview panel resolved and approved/decided by a majority to appoint Ali Zain Banatwala against the position of DMD (SO) NTDC on contract basis.

The Chairman Committee asked about the resignation date of Ali Zain Banatwala as Member of BoD, NTDC. The A.S, Power Division stated that he resigned as Member, BoD on April 14, 2022 and joined as DMD (SO), NTDC on April 15, 2022.

The Chairman Committee observed that he applied for the post on January 31, 2022 but even then he was not eligible to apply for this position due to conflict of interest. He further enquired whether an Independent Director of BoD can apply for the position of a staff member.

In the recruitment process of DMD (AD&M) NTDC, the Chairman Committee inquired about the retirement date of Manzoor Ahmed as MD, NTDC. The Committee was informed that his retirement date was February 28, 2022 but he was notified till May 15, 2022.

The A.S, Power Division further noted that the post of DMD (AD&M) was created by the BoD, NTDC on January 13, 2017 and became vacant on December 18, 2020. The advertisement was published on December 30, 2020 and in response 28 applications were received out of which 18 candidates were shortlisted.

The first round of interviews of shortlisted candidates was conducted by the HR Committee of the Board on March 26-27, 2021 respectively. The second round of interviews was by the HR Committee on April 13, 2021. The BoD did not notify the selected candidate and withheld the process due to one reason or another. However, the BoD on March 13, 2022 sought a legal opinion from the Chief Law Officer on the process of appointment of DMD (AD&M), NTDC. The legal opinion received from Chief Law Officer on the validity of the process for selection of DMD (AD&M) stated that “the process initiated by NTDC Board of Directors on December 30, 2020 for the appointment of DMD (AD&M) is continuing and is still in progress.”

Based on the legal opinion of Chief Law Officer, the BoD on March 22, 2022 unanimously resolved and approved the appointment of Manzoor Ahmed as DMD (AD&M) NTDC on contract basis.

The Chairman Committee stated that Aizaz Ahmed left in November 2021 and acting charge was given to Manzoor Ahmed as a stop gap arrangement for six months with the approval of the Cabinet. He observed that three and a half months remained to his retirement so why was the charge given for six months instead of three and a half months.

The A.S, Power Division was unable to respond to this observation. Secretary, Power Division further apprised that it was also decided by the Cabinet that the day he will retire he will be appointed as DMD, NTDC.

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