Rooting Out Corruption at KESC

Having worked in Asian developing countries for almost 15 years, I have come to learn that corruption and people trying to obtain undue benefits, has always been part of this working culture. I am always surprised by the ingenuity of their schemes. For example, I came to learn that bosses received payments from their subordinates in order to receive higher performance grades, which in turn led to higher salary increases.

I visited Karachi Electricity Supply Company (KESC) recently and met Asir Manzur, Director Human Resources. KESC has gone through a stunning transformation and after all the labor unrest, which at the end was all about who is in control of the company (the management or the trade union), they are now showing some remarkable business results. They now have the capacity to supply to all the electricity needs of the whole of Karachi in peak hours, with 60% of Karachi not encountering any scheduled load shedding, and to the other 40% KESC implements load shedding as a measure for people to stop stealing electricity and to start paying their bills.

Corruption was rampant within KESC. Most of us living in Karachi have been confronted with this. In order to address this issue, KESC needed to go beyond their ordinary measures. And they did, with gusto. As part of their initiative to solve the problem they set up an in-house legal court where employees who were accused of professional misconduct and corruption were charged within 24 hours, an investigation was done within 48 hours and a final verdict was given within 4 days of the charges coming to the fray. To manage this, they have appointed a panel of 14 legal experts and investigators who conduct the required due diligence headed by a senior manager (who on a weekly basis reports to the leadership team).

The results were mind blowing. Over the last 15 months, 1460 people have been fired in KESC on corruption charges. From directors to blue collar workers, at all levels, employees were being held accountable for their actions. At first, they handled 200 investigations per week, by now it has come down to 5 – 6 a week.

Can you imagine firing over a thousand people on ethical grounds? Draconian measures you might say and Asir would certainly agree with you, but according to him they were absolutely necessary! As a customer of KESC I totally comply.

Have you ever come across misconduct in your organization? What corruption have you witnessed in the workplace?

– Paul Keijzer


8 thoughts on “Rooting Out Corruption at KESC

  1. Resident of Block B North Nazimabad, my house is right opposite the Rangers headquarters (Sachal Rangers Lawns). We face 2 hour loadshedding thrice a day only because there are lots of ‘kundas’ in our neghborhood. Kindly please visit the area and you will be surprised to see several kundas that is the hooks for stealing electricity coming from the Rangers headquarters only. KESC knows , but we suffer. KESC is corrupt and so is the Govt. I refuse to believe what you say above. These rangers lawns are used for weddings and other events and the Rangers are making money out of this property where they are lstealing electricity.

  2. You’re right Safire. Its important to get their views as well. Certainly would like to invite them to leave some comments here

  3. recently i had worst experience with KESC as a customer, my long pending dues are cleared after 6 months, customer services area of KESC is one of the worst in Pakistan, where I am agree with this post, change in quite clear in KESC staff, as they never asked for bribe, during my issue, in fact task force team, GM billing, respond to my queries…hope for the best, we need to change the system, as KESC is backbone of energy, ASIR and team need to work on customer / consumer service area….

  4. KESC has made changes yes – fewer hours of load shedding – but there is still a lot left for them to recover their reputation. good thing to know Asir is taking right steps in trying to improve the standards of the organization!

  5. Getting 700mv from Wapda at the cost of WAPDA customers else where in Pakistan– not buying from IPP’s because they tend to be expensive (F.Oil based) is the real reason for less load shedding and improved financial results. I do not know about others but the area I live in is always having serious voltage fluctuation issues – result — the expensive equipemets are write off. You keep calling them and telling and asking them to help save your equipments – you get a complaint number only to use it as refernce number when you call again – which you will as the problem remains there. Customer service has improved –atleast the call centre guys are doing there job of issuing the complaint numbers — what happens after that is not the part of KESC customer service I believe — for KESC customers still a long way to go.

  6. We have been facing voltage fluctuations for a over a year. I end up calling KESC complaint center up dozens of times in any given 12-months. They issue a complaint number but the problem isn’t usually resolved soon enough. When I call to follow up, I am usually told that acoording to KESC’s information, the complaint had been resolved! Nevermind, they’ll always issue another complaint number to follow-up with. At times it takes over a week to have a issue resolved, and never would they tell you expected time of resolution so you could make alternate plans.

  7. I agree there are problems, such as flactuation and several more. But referring to resolving disciplinary cases effectively, I believe in Asir as I know him from 1985. He can do it and has done it. That is a proof which cannot be denied.
    Nawab Husain

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