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Govt removes three nominees from board of Pak Datacom Limited

ISLAMABAD: The government has removed its nominees from the board of a public listed company – Pak Datacom Limited by exercising powers for the first time available under the recently promulgated Companies Ordinance 2016.

The government sprang into action after its nominated Board members gave an “illegal three-year extension” to the now sacked chief executive of the company; Brig retired Muhammad Arshad Khan Kayani.

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Kayani had gotten a three-year service extension from the company board, which the Ministry of Law declared as “irregular and illegal”.

By exercising powers available under the Companies Ordinance 2016, the government last week removed its three nominees on the Pak Datacom Limited, said Aftab Bhatti, Chairman of the Pak Datacom board of directors and additional secretary Ministry of Information Technology. It has removed Arshad Kayani, Taimur Faiz Cheema and Shahzad Sami Qureshi.

Bhatti said that three new members have been appointed in their place. These are Ameena Sohail, currently serving as Member Legal of Ministry of Information Technology, Syed Ibrar Hussain Shah, joint secretary of the ministry and Syed Mohammad Harris, Chief Finance Officer of Universal Services Fund.

He said that the Board through resolution has also approved to remove the company’s Chief Executive Arshad Kayani. In his place, Ibrar Hussain Shah has been given the additional charge of the Chief Executive, Bhatti added. The government has also replaced the company secretary and appointed Miss Farhat Mansoor as the new company secretary.

However, the sacked Chief Executive has not taken his removal lightly and has taken the government to the court.

“I am in control of the things and have not relinquished the charge of the office,” said Kayani while talking to The Express Tribune, adding that he went to office on Tuesday. Kayani said that the Islamabad High Court has given a stay order till December 9. He claimed that the government’s action was unlawful, as its exercised powers were applicable only to the public sector company while Pak Datacom was a public listed company.

The sacked chief executive went on to claim that the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has accepted his point of view and did not change the names of the directors in its database.

Response from Bilal Rasul, spokesman of the SECP, was awaited till the filing of the story.

The recently promulgated Companies Ordinance 2016 says that a chief executive nominated by the government in a public sector company “shall hold office during the pleasure of the government”.

SECP Chairman Zafar Hijazi said last week that in case of public sector companies the nominated directors represent the shareholder, which in this case is the government and it has the right to remove them.

Pak Datacom is one of the leading communication services providers of the country and is responsible for providing services for the country’s three armed forces, law enforcement agencies, the State Bank of Pakistan, commercial banks, telecommunication companies and airlines. It is a subsidiary of Telecom Foundation, which has 55% equity in the company, whereas general public and foreign investors made 45% investments in it.

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Kayani said that the sacked company secretary gave a statement that the officials of the Ministry of Information Technology forced him to change the names in form 29 of the SECP that deals with the names of the company’s directors.

If one goes by Kayani’s version there are now two Chief Executives of the Pak Datacom, at least till December 29. The Telecom Foundation works under the Ministry of Information Technology according to the government’s rules of business of 1973. Pak Datacom was incorporated as a private limited company in July 1992 and was subsequently converted into a public limited company in June 1994.

During Kayani’s three year tenure, the company’s profits drastically reduced. In June 2013, the company’s after-tax profit was Rs96.1 million and the earnings per share (EPS) stood at Rs9.8. However, within a span of three years, its EPS plunged to only Rs3.78 as of June 2016. The after-tax profit decreased to a mere Rs37.1 million by June 2016.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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