NTDC bans whistleblowing against its own alleged mismanagement

LAHORE: NTDC through an official memo titled “handling anonymous, pseudonymous complaints” asked all its formations to dispose of any such complaints. The memo in this connection was stated to be issued by Dr Naveed Ahmad Faraz, General Manager, Human Resource on the direction of Manzoor Ahmad, Managing Director, NTDC, citing a decision taken by the Board of Directors of the company.

The senior manager of the company issued this letter on November 24, 2021 to deputy managing directors, all general managers, all c-suit officers, company secretary, all chief engineers, all managers and all deputy managers while giving reference to a two-and-half year old direction of the company’s board of directors.

“The board of directors, NTDC in its 152nd meeting held on 22-05-2019 unanimously resolved that all anonymous/ pseudonymous complaints received by the management directly or through board may be disposed of by it. It is therefore reiterated that all anonymous/pseudonymous complaints be disposed of in accordance with the directions circulated vide Company Secretary, NTDC, Notification No NTDC/CS/1294-1320 dated 04-10-2019,” reads a letter issued a few weeks back.

The unanimous step on part of the NTDC management to bulldoze any attempt to stop misconduct in the company was being seen as an attempt to silence voices against illegalities and misconduct.

It was claimed that high-ups of the company, including the chairman board of directors, MD, DMD and several GMs etc have been accused of corrupt practices through various complaints. To protect themselves from inquiries, it is alleged that they have shown a rare agreement on formally putting a lid on such whistle blowing.

The move is being seen as an attempt to put complaints over serious irregularities amounting to billions of rupees under the carpet.

In sheer contradiction to the direction of the company not to process anonymous complaints against its staff, it is a matter of fact that NTDC is currently investigating several complaints referred by various quarters, including pile of inquiries forwarded by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) against illegalities of many of its officials.

In such two separate instances, about a dozen complaints have been sent to NTDC for conducting investigation by the regulator of the power sector.

Some of these were lately being probed by the Performance Assessment Department of the company. However, after issuing of letter banning processing of anonymous complaints, company bosses also removed, Muhammad Sakhawat, GM, Performance Assessment abruptly, who was known as an upright person.

When this scribe asked Manzoor Ahmad, MD NTDC about formally stopping the exercise of whistleblowing, he emphatically said that they just notified a decision of the board. Naveed Ismaeel, incumbent Chairman of BoD, distanced himself from the move of the company.

“BoD has absolutely no idea about any such internal memo. I will check with the management. This should not be happening! Whistleblowing should not be suppressed, he observed while replying queries sent to him. 

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