Dar appoints close aides to SECP’s policy board before going on leaves

KARACHI: Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is on indefinite leaves from last Wednesday, but before going to leaves, he has appointed his close aides Hafiz Yousaf and Senator Osman Saifullah on the board of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in violation of the code of conduct, it was learnt here on Thursday.

A notification from the ministry of finance was issued on November 22. The previous SECP board was already completed in September 2017.

The source in the SECP said, “The ministry of finance on behest of Federal Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar has re-appointed his close aides Hafiz Yousaf and Senator Osman Saif Ullah on the Board of the SECP.”

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He said that both the appointments at SECP board were in violation of SECP policy board’s code of conduct. Osman Saifullah is a Senator and no person with a political background can be appointed on SECP’s policy board, he added.

Moreover, Saifullah’s family has the highest number of companies in Panama and Paradise leaks, so he has a serious conflict of interest with the SECP and SECP is also investigating this matter, the source added.

Hafiz Yousaf is also a close friend of Dar, the source claimed and added that when Senator Dar became finance minister, he appointed him to the SECP policy board. Later, when his tenure expired at SECP board on September 3, 2017, Hafiz Yousaf was made a member of the State Bank’s board, he added.

Prior to his appointment at SECP board in 2013, Hafiz Yousaf faced litigation in various cases while in the SECP when he was made a member of the policy board. However, the charges were all cleared during his tenure.

The source also revealed that Hafiz Yousaf was also a candidate for the position of commissioner advertised by the ministry of finance recently. He was among the six shortlisted persons, he added.

It is strange that a person who was to be interviewed for the position of SECP commissioner was suddenly appointed on the SECP board by Ishaq Dar. The finance minister made these appoints in haste before going on leaves, the source added.

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Arshad Hussain
The author is business reporter at Pakistan Today. He can be reached at arshad.hussaind@pakistantoday.com.pk. He tweets @ArshadH47736937
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