Bapco probe is launched
Manama, March 30, 2011
An investigation into absenteeism at Bapco over the past month has been launched by Bahrain's parliament.
A special committee was set up to handle the probe to uncover irregularities in the company in an urgent move by MPs.
It comes following a request by parliament chairman Khalifa Al Dhahrani and four MPs, including Al Asala and Al Menbar blocs' representatives as well as independents.
'The request for a probe comes after continued absenteeism since last month until now as employees followed orders from some political societies to go on strike,' said Al Dhahrani.
'We have evidence against some of the company's management, giving employees their annual leave during the time of strike, despite missing work deliberately and without excuse.'
He said they believed this had damaged Bapco's performance, harming the national economy in the process.
'Instead of calling employees to work, the company started doing maintenance work on its facilities, despite it not being scheduled to do so and this is squandering money,' said Al Dhahrani.
The committee comprises legislative and legal affairs committee chairman Ahmed Al Mulla, foreign affairs, defence and national security committee chairman Khamis Al Rumaihi and public utilities and environment affairs committee vice-chairman Hassan Al Dossary.
Other members include MPs Jassim Al Saeedi, Abdulhaleem Murad, Adnan Al Malky, Mohammed Al Ammadi and Latefa Al Gaoud.
The committee will have a maximum of one month to complete the investigation before presenting its findings at a parliament session for discussion.
Minister of State for Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Abdulaziz Al Fadhel said that MPs had no right to question decisions by board members, only administrative decisions.
'This is the system followed in previous investigations into government-owned companies and MPs should be beware that anything involving board members will not be accepted by the government,' he said.
However, Al Dossary said that it was the public's money and everyone could be held accountable, including Energy Minister Dr Abdulhussain Mirza.
'We will discuss everything without anything being left out and we will investigate everyone from smallest ranked employee in the company to the minister,' he said.
Al Asala MP Ghanim Al Buainain said that employees went on strike saying that it was Saudi oil, which they don't want to touch.
'They say that Saudi is attacking us and they don't want to touch anything from it, forgeting that we are getting oil for free from there to refine,' he said.
'Those employees think that Saudi is losing, when it is Bahrain and they should be punished for their cruel and evil intentions to destroy the economy.'
Al Saeedi claimed that there were senior officials in the country, including Bapco, who were involved in plans to destabilise the country.
'But their plans have been thwarted and all will be punished.'
However, a senior company official told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN) early this month that its oil and gas production had not been affected by political turmoil.
Reports had suggested there were problems with production, but the Sitra refinery was already undergoing a maintenance shutdown when protests started and was not due to return to full production until the end of April.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he expected the refinery to return to full production once the maintenance had been completed and claimed exports were continuing as normal.-TradeArabia News Service