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November 16, 2017

Action against corrupt elements priority


November 16, 2017

LAHORE Punjab Anti Corruption Establishment (ACE) Director General Brig (retd) Muzzaffar Ranjha has said mega corruption cases will remain his top priority, and he will not tolerate any individual if found guilty. 

Talking to a group of journalists here at his office, the ACE DG said Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has given him the green signal since he assumed the office to catch any government official or a private person found involved in corruption or corrupt practices in the domain of ACE. 

He said only 20pc vacant posts is left to be filled. Recruitment from drade-7 and above is being done through Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), he added. He said the Punjab government has approved over 130 new posts for Punjab ACE during the current fiscal year whereas more posts would be created during the coming years.

The DG said over 200 proclaimed offenders (POs) and over a dozen court absconders (CAs) have been arrested during July 2016 till September 2017. 

On the question of not registering an FIR against former Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran and Abdul Qadir Gilani, son of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, the DG said that his department had asked the chief secretary to refer the case back as it needed more probe. 

“Recently, I have met with secretary services and it has been decided that deputy commissioners (DCs) of all the districts in Punjab should be asked to be more proactive in dealing with corruption cases as they are also the ex-officio directors of the anti-watchdog of corruption as per the relevant act,” he said.

Commenting on existing ACE law, the DG said: “We have identified 13 weaknesses in the law which would be addressed soon.” To another question, he said the ACE law would be amended and punishments would also be included for fake complainants up to three years.

When his comments were sought regarding illegal occupation of forest department’s thousands of acres of land by private individuals/departments, he said: “We have completed the enquiry and waiting for the supreme court’s decision in the case. 

“Soon after the decision of the SC, we will register an FIR against those land grabbers who occupied forest department’s land,” he remarked.

When asked about the probe against arrested Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr Junaid Safdar of University of Health Sciences (UHS) in Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT) 2017 paper leak issue, Ranjha said the accused is on a physical remand with ACE. He said allegations of negligence against Dr Junaid, being the custodian of MDCAT, is very obvious but his role in the financial embezzlement or kickbacks and corruption was also under probe. “We don’t have anything yet to prove Junaid was involved in financial corruption in MDCAT paper leak. But, we are investigating the matter thoroughly”, the DG added. 

Ranjha said: “A court had barred us from arresting Deputy Controller of Examinations of UHS, but we would definitely investigate against her for her alleged role in the entire episode.”

About Punjab Saaf Pani Company case, the DG said all the accused have been put on the Exit Control List (ECL) and the case is under probe.

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