Two PTA Directors refused to become a part 3G Spectrum Auction Process
Two courageous directors of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) refused to become a part of multi-billion dollar 3G Spectrum auction process and they did so at the highest policymaking forum, a meeting at the PM House chaired by the prime minister himself on Monday.
This meeting was attended by all concerned people to finalize the processes of auction of 3G spectrum, but the two most relevant key members of the PTA refused to become part of any dubious deal.
Two members of the PTA are:
- Member Technical Dr Khawar Siddique Khokhar
- Member Finance Nasrul Karim Ghaznavi
The meeting was attended by Prime Minister, including chairman and two members of the PTA, the finance minister, minister for water and power, secretary information technology, adviser information technology, senior officials of the planning commission, principal secretary to the prime minister and others.
Both the Members, Khokhar and Ghaznavi, said that they were neither kept in the loop in the hiring of the consultants nor were they taken into confidence about the processes being adopted for this auction.
The meeting wanted Khokhar and Ghaznavi to approve the Information Memorandum (IM) prepared by the three consultants who were hired without their consent and in violation of PPRA rules.
Mr. Khokhar and Mr. Ghaznavi insisted that the decision of such matters should be left to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority as per the law and rules.
Adviser on IT, Dr Basit Riaz Shaikh said:
The auction processes and the members should not take much time to give their approval to the proposed Information Memorandum.
There was a clash of words between the Chairman PTA and the two Members, which at one stage saw the prime minister losing his cool and telling the Member Technical that he lacks etiquette.
Chairman PTA raised the question that Khokhar’s educational degrees were still unverified, to which the Member technical said that it is for his employer to verify his degrees. The member finance who felt undue coercion told the meeting that he was twice victimised and suspended but got exonerated both by the FPSC and the judiciary.
The letter conveyed to all concerned that these hiring involved violation of Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996 as well as the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Rules, 2004.
In a letter written to Principal Secretary to the PM, the cabinet secretary, secretary information technology, chairman PTA and others, the PTA Member Technical, Dr Khokhar had revealed that the recent appointment of three consultants on hefty salaries ($700,000 – about Rs70m) is in violation of the PPRA rules and without the knowledge of the authority.
Chairman PTA, Farooq Awan said:
Under the PTA Act the chairman had the authority to appoint advisors/ consultant without consulting the authority. Secondly, these appointments do not involve any violation of PPRA rules.
He also added:
It may be noted that the said recruitment for position of three consultants was neither required to be done under PPRA Rules nor it was done. Therefore, the applicability of PPRA Rules or any violation thereof hence is out of question. The said hiring was done within the ambit of PTA Act., and Regulations.