SAPM Tania Aidrus responds to the eyebrows raised on her being a Board member of an NGO
“There may not be a question of making personal monetary gains here. However, it’s in the interests of transparency and good practices to avoid such conflicts of interest, constitutional lawyer Waqqas Mir
A company related to Tania Aidrus, the Special Assistant to the PM on Digital Pakistan, and PM’s confidante, Jahangir Tareen, has stirred a controversy on social media.
Aidrus has also been revealed to be in the board of directors of a company ‘Digital Pakistan Foundation’ alongside Jahangir Tareen, his lawyer Bashir Mohmand and Careem’s CEO, Mudassar Ilyas Sheikha.
According to details, Tania returned to Pakistan in 2019, leaving her job as a Google executive to lead the Digital Pakistan initiative. In February this year, she was officially appointed in Digital Pakistan.
The controversy began when a not-for-profit organization named Digital Pakistan Foundation registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) with Aidrus, Tareen, and Sheikha being the founding members.
According to authorities, Tania Aidrus or any SAPM cannot keep any position that lacks transparency or leads to a dispute.
In this regard, a constitutional lawyer, Waqas Mir, said, “In her capacity as SAPM, Tania shouldn’t consult the government concerning a private organization where she serves as a board member.”
“There may not be a question of making personal monetary gains here. However, it’s in the interests of transparency and good practices to avoid such conflicts of interest between one’s role as a government actor on the one hand and acting as a board member for a privately controlled entity on the other,” constitutional lawyer Waqqas Mir told Dawn.
Upon contact, the former Google executive confirmed the report saying that there is no problem with the SAPM securing a not-for-profit company position.
“There is unquestionably no issue with a SAPM being on the board of a not-for-profit company. Remembering that the DPF is not a private limited company and the same sector would only be a problem when the company is a profit-making entity,” Tania said.
She added, “The foundation will not take any payments from the government; instead, it will provide free-of-cost support to the government.”
Involvement of Jahangir Tareen
Aidrus also affirmed that Tareen was one of the board members when the DPF was established, as he then was associated with the government’s reform initiatives.
However, due to his private and business commitments, Tareen resigned from the board.
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