Transparency of any transaction is a guarantee: Privatisation Commission clarifies misperceptions about Investor Consultations

Islamabad, December 21, 2015 (PPI-OT): The Privatisation Commission (PC) fully respects the parliamentary oversight function, and will always assist all parliamentary committees as well as other stakeholders in their queries at any given time to ensure that PC’s process remains transparent. There is however a need to clarify some misperceptions which have recently been created by certain news reports.

This clarification is specifically related to certain news reports carried by a section of the press on December 18, 2015, regarding the proceedings of the hearing conducted on December 17, 2015 by the Senate’s sub-committee on Finance, Economic Affairs, Revenue, Statistics, and Privatisation regarding the privatization of Heavy Electrical Complex (HEC).

According to the news reports, some PC officials were accused of holding meetings with the bidding company M/s Cargill Holdings, including exchange of emails, in which the company representative was advised to publish an advertisement in support of PC’s process of HEC while clarifying its legal position as a company on the sale price of HEC.

Had that been the case, the mentioned advertisement published on 14th September 2015 would have included these alleged recommended details. On the contrary, the published advertisement was a complete false stance against PC and the legal situation of the transaction against which PC promptly responded by issuing its own and the correct version of the events on the following day.

With regard to the mention of ‘exchange of emails between the bidder for HEC and the PC Staff.’, it should be noted that the email discussed in the sub-committee meeting was “sent” by the bidder to PC staff. There was no response from PC officials to that email and therefore PC is in no way responsible for the contents in a single email sent by another person.

Relying on the contents of someone’s email, as quoted in a section of the media, is therefore both unfortunate and misleading. It should also be acknowledged that the email was sent by the gentleman representing M/s Cargill Holdings, against whom PC has instituted a criminal case for submitting a dishonoured cheque, while forfeiting the company’s earnest money amounting to Rs 25 million. PC has also won two cases in the Islamabad High Court so far, instituted by the said gentleman against PC.

It is therefore rather unfortunate that some media reports refer to the contents of a gentleman / company – whose criminal conduct has been explained above – as a ‘reliable source’, while PC – despite taking all of the abovementioned actions against the criminal behaviour of M/s Cargill Holding – is accused of wrong-doings in this process.

There is also a need to understand that PC has been entrusted to sell the state entities on the list of privatization, in accordance with the Privatisation Commission Ordinance, 2000. However, ‘selling’ requires pro-active marketing with continuous follow ups with potential investors to ensure value maximization for our national assets. To achieve the best sale price, PC holds domestic as well as international marketing consultations, to encourage potential investors to participate in our competitive bidding process.

Very often, PC teams visit offices and factories of the potential investors to help them become a part of our process. Therefore, PC staff is not just obliged but also encouraged to meet potential investors, respond to their queries and make efforts to bring them into PC’s competitive process. However, while doing so, PC always keeps absolute transparency and integrity of the privatization process as the top most priority.

Therefore, accusing PC staff of meeting a bidder out of office is prima facie not only unfair, but the accusation of doing so with the intention to influence the process is also completely baseless. It needs to be appreciated that the PC rules and regulations ensure dispersion of authority and no individual, no matter how powerful, can influence the decision making.

PC remains committed to ensuring complete transparency and the highest standards of integrity in running the privatisation programme, and is therefore also confident that once the Senate Committee has all the facts before it, it would also be satisfied by the process run by PC.

For more information, contact:
Privatisation Commission
5-A EAC Building Constitution Avenue,
Islamabad- Pakistan
Tel: +9251 920 5146 -47
Fax: +9251 920 3076