HASCOL Petroleum Limited, the darling of investors within Pakistan as well as abroad who track Pakistani markets, appears to be a basket case of corporate malpractices and fiduciary malfeasance by the management.
According to the reports of Baaghi TV, Pakistan’s biggest financial scandal has unveiled right in front of us as HASCOL – a public listed company – has failed to hold an annual general meeting and declare its audited finances. Now, everyone from the top management of the company as well as some government officials are running to save their skin.
Details reveal that what has happened in HASCOL is nothing less than a criminal enterprise that has taken the money from poor investors and accumulated debt based on fraudulent accounts and fake purchase orders. The scam is clear and Hascol is still trying to cover up the fraud.
However, there are some questions that need to be answered:
- How did HASCOL go from Rs389.41 per share a share to Rs7.02 a share?
- When the company was accumulating losses, how and why did the banks extend so much facility to HASCOL without due diligence and took on such a high risk exposure?
- Why has the board been reconstituted and directors resigned? Why did the chief executive officers (CEOs) resign?
- The biggest question is that why world renowned audit firms like Grant Thornton International and Ernst & Young Global Limited resigned from the account? Were they asked to cover up the crimes that have already been committed?
- What role did former CEOs played especially Saleem Butt?
- Why was a British politician and former minister made chairman of the board? Who’s crimes was the company’s chairman, Alan Duncan, trying to cover?
The questions remain unanswered!
Starting from a relatively small player in the oil sector back in 2001 to becoming the second largest oil retailers in the country after Pakistan State Oil (PSO), the annual revenues of the company increased approximately nine times (from Rs25.9 billion in 2012 to Rs233.6 billion in 2018).
It is to be noted that loans worth Rs 58 billion given to HASCOL by 14 domestic banks have turned bad. Moreover, the investors at Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) are said to have lost tens of billions of rupees.
Unfortunately, not a single bank out of the 14 banks involved in Pakistan’s historical financial scam of 58 billion rupees have taken action against any banking executive involved in dealing with HASCOL? Have any bankers been charged with fraud or negligence or incompetence? Has the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) initiated an inquiry against these banks?
It is very pertinent to mention here that a financial fraudulent debt of this scale could not have happened without bankers being involved themselves. Where is the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA), Commercial Bank Circle?
Vitol Dubai Limited (VTL) – a global energy trading giant – purchased 15 % of the company’s shares in 2015 and later increased its holding to 25 % in one year (i.e. 2016). Slowly and gradually, Vitol increased its shareholding taking the holding to 40 % shares of the company.
Some more questions arise:
- Why and how did Vitol acquire 40 % of a strategic asset in Pakistan?
- Did Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and/or Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) do any due diligence in Vitol which already has a dubious past?
It is to be noted that Vitol Dubai Limited settled a criminal probe into bribery and market manipulation in Brazil in December, 2020. How was this company allowed to operate in Pakistan and allowed to create the biggest financial scam in history?
Another thing that needs to be highlighted is that in what capacity did the Business Development Director of Vitol, Abdul Aziz Khalid and Managing Director of Vitol, Fareed Arshad Masood became directors of HASCOL!
Baaghi TV has learnt from reliable sources that HASCOL purchased products at a relatively higher price from HASCOL Dubai. Moreover, the company which was named as Vitol Dubai was later removed and changed to Vitol Bahrain. God knows why did that happen and what are HASCOL and Vitol trying to hide or protect!
Vitol Dubai executives have some very strong connections with the Pakistani political elites as Abdul Aziz frequently visits in Pakistan’s political circles. The government of Pakistan needs to take quick and stern action against all the criminals involved and arrest them who have are responsible for such a massive fraud against the general public who invested their hard earned money into the HASCOL stock.
Last week, in a hearing by the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, the SECP and SBP, it has been confirmed that HASCOL committed “wrongdoings” and “misappropriations”.
Furthermore, Pakistan’s corporate sector regulators said that criminal proceedings will soon begin against former and some current management of HASCOL and officials from the government of Pakistan after the conclusion of an ongoing investigation.
The Ministry of Law is considering moving courts in the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA) and Singapore to take Vitol to task for aiding and abetting in committing this fraud against people of Pakistan.
Seven names are currently on the list and the senate body especially members of the opposition parties are putting tremendous pressure, therefore, it is expected that 7-9 people will be arrested, investigated and charged in the next few weeks.
Stay tuned to Baaghi TV for latest news and updates!