PESHAWAR: An inquiry committee formed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on the directives of the Supreme Court has unearthed irregularities in appointment of Dean of Khyber College of Dentistry (KCD).
The inquiry found that the appointment was illegal and the hiring process was dubious, partial and against the merit. The News has obtained a copy of the report.
The Supreme Court had taken notice of various human rights violation cases in the Medical and Teaching Institutions (MTIs) and ordered an inquiry to probe alleged irregularities committed in key appointments.
The chief secretary had formed the committee. Its members included special secretary health, additional secretary finance, additional secretary establishment and chief executive officer postgraduate medical institute (PGMI).
The inquiry committee said the report was based on documents provided to it by the KTH administration. Some aggrieved officials of KCD also submitted applications with the evidence that helped the committee getting tangible proofs. "The inquiry committee after going through the record provided by the KTH believes that the officials associated with the hiring process of Dean KCD tried to serve their vested interest," the committee mentioned in the report.
It said that chairman Board of Governor (BoG) signed the appointment notification, showing favouritism. "Chairman BoG and the selection committee tampered with the merit list to favour a particular candidate," the committee noted.
A selection committee was constituted on February 8, 2017 to evaluate educational qualification and experience of the applicants. The committee interviewed 10 shortlisted candidates on March 2, 2017 and handed over final list to the BoG. "The inquiry committee evaluated the record related to the appointment of Dean KCD and found it partial, dubious and in conflict with MTI rules, PMDC regulations and BoG guidelines," the committee stated in its report.
It said the BoG had approved the composition of selection committee in its meeting on February 16, 2017 and as per approval of BoG, "the selection committee was to include 3 laymen as provided in section 6 of the regulations. Regulation 6 stipulates that at least three lay persons shall be associated with the selection committee, which didn't happen. Since, the composition of the committee was incomplete and therefore its proceedings were null and void in the eyes of law."
It found that selection criteria was reportedly neither approved by the BoG nor selection committee as the MTI management didn't share any document with the inquiry committee. According to the inquiry report, the criteria used for appointment of Dean KCD was not approved by the BoG and the selection committee as it was communicated to its members through email. "The selection committee prepared no minutes of its meeting therefore it can be safely presumed that the proposed selection was not approved by any forum. The committee irrationally allocated huge marks to interview instead of educational qualification and experience," the inquiry committee noted in its findings.
It said that as per the procedure in vogue in the provincial government departments major portion of total marks was allocated to candidate's qualification and experience to reduce the chances of external influence.
"As per oral statement of secretary BoG, the selection committee did not evaluate and allocate marks to academic qualification and experience as per the checklist shared by chairman BoG through email, thus putting some highly qualified and experienced candidates particularly at serial number 2 and 5 of the merit list," the committee explained.
It noted that instances have been noticed where candidates were rated differently by members of the interview panel in the field of education and professional qualification. The committee found that final evaluation sheet appeared to have been deliberately tinkered with as it contained overwriting at many places.
"For example, in column 2, the marks of a candidate at serial number 6 have been reduced by 11 marks apparently 77 to 67, as the marks of corresponding evaluation form filled up by individual selection committee member, if calculated comes to 77 instead of 67. His total marks are 652 and if 11 marks are added, it comes to 663 and would surpass the incumbent Dean whose total marks are 659. Similarly, in the same column, the marks of incumbent Dean has been increased from a certain number (not readable) to 80 giving him slight edge over other candidates. The inquiry committee believes that tampering with documents of such sensitive nature is criminal act on the part of selection committee," the committee maintained.
In findings and conclusion, the committee noted that appointment of Dean KCD was illegal in the light of relevant rules and regulations due to certain reasons, saying the hiring process was dubious, partial and against principles of merit and transparency. It said the record provided by the KTH administration was incomplete, the selection committee didn't record minutes of its meeting, and therefore credibility of all subsequent documents related to the Dean appointment was doubtful.