Mineral sector in FATA: Irregularities worth Billions detected

Mineral sector in FATA: Irregularities worth Billions detected

ISLAMABAD:The Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) examined and discussed irregularities and gross violations of Mineral Concession Rules 2005 and Fata Mineral Policy in awarding of various category licenses for the semi-precious stone in Mohmand Agency to a private company.

The committee meeting was held here under the Chairmanship of Senator Hilal ur Rehman at parliament lodges, said a press release here on Saturday.

The meeting was attended by Senators Saleh Shah , Hidayat ullah, Taj Muhammad, Malik Najmul Hassan, Ahmad Hassan, Khanzada Khan and Sitara Ayaz, and Director Minerals, GM planning from FDA, officials from Ministry of SAFRON.

The committee also noted that since the standing committee took notice of this issue in 2016, the attitude of the officials of FATA Development Authority in trying to conceal facts on this mega Scam was reprehensible and indicative of the connivance of officials of FATA secretariat and Fata Development Authority.

He maintained that owing to flagrant violations of rules, the state exchequer and poor people of FATA were robbed of billions of rupees through illegal mining of nephrite stone, which belonged to the downtrodden masses of FATA.

He said illegal mining activities were carried out on fictitious prospecting licenses from January 2015 to October 2015. Mineral directorate issued licenses for serpentine whereas mining was conducted for semi-precious and expensive Nephrite stone.

He also clarified that the prospective license and subsequent mining licenses were issued in clear violations and non-adherence to the provisions of rule 95,100,117, 124, 133, 134, 173 among other provisions of FATA mineral policy as well.

The chairman emphasized that the consequence of this nexus between Mineral Directorate FATA development authority and m/s Bajaur Ancient Variety Pvt Ltd was that only during the initial prospecting license period (Jan to August 2015) 32 trucks of mined nephrite that were taken out from Mohmand Agency were of roughly around 10 billion rupees only. So when the total quantum of mined and traded nephrite was computed, it would be in many times more up till now.

Therefore, the committee unanimously concluded that in light of the discussions and findings of the committee on the subject issue and with reference to the previous meeting of the standing committee dated January 17, 2018, whereby the enquiry report regarding irregularities / ambiguities in the issuance of NoC / license to m/s Bajaur Ancient Variety (pvt) ltd ; it was recommended to ministry of SAFRON that the subject Prospecting license and Subsequent Mining licences were issued without observing adherence to the above mentioned Mineral Concessional Rules 2005 . Hence, they be cancelled forthwith. 

Departmental inquiry to be initiated against all the concerned officers of Mineral directorate, FDA and political administration who have been involved either through omission or commission in awarding licenses and then allowing the illegal mining to carry out. 

From January to August 2015 illegally mined nephrite on prospecting license be probed by NAB and FIA in detail in order to estimate the actual scale of the loss to the government exchequer and also to fix responsibility on the officials responsible.APP/AFP