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January 27, 2018

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NAB starts corruption probe against Sindh health secretary

KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) authorities in Sindh have launched a widespread investigation against Sindh Health Secretary Dr Fazlullah Pechuho and seven of his ‘frontmen’ for taking kickbacks allegedly in purchase of medicines and health supplies, contracting out health facilities throughout Sindh, appointing medical superintendents and other officials, hiring and postings of doctors, corruption in the vertical programmes and several other areas in the health sector.

According to a notice to Sindh Secretary General Administration, the NAB has asked the secretary to produce record of seven officials of Sindh health department, including two additional secretaries Rehan Iqbal Baloch and Jamaluddin Jalalani, deputy secretary Dadlo Zuhrani and four others, before a NAB investigator on Monday.

Most of these officials, including Rehan Baloch and Dadlo Zuhrani, are considered frontmen of the Sindh health secretary, who is the brother-in-law of Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari, and remained serving with him in the education department prior to his posting in the health department.

An official of the NAB Sindh said they were receiving a lot of complaints and material on rampant corruption in the Sindh health department since Dr Fazlullah Pechuho was posted as health secretary; he also got his team or ‘frontmen’ posted in the health department from the education department.

NAB had recently announced that on directives from NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, it had launched an investigation against Sindh Health Secretary Dr Fazlullah Pechuho for misuse of powers, illegal transfers and postings, embezzlement in purchase of medicine for the hospitals and healthcare facilities in Sindh.

A senior official of NAB said that the extent of corruption in the health and education departments was so ‘huge’ that they had formed two separate teams of investigations to work on the allegations and complaints separately as billions of rupees were plundered in both education and health departments by Dr Fazlullah Pechuho.

Pechuho is a Grade 20 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service and his wife Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho is a member of the National Assembly but she is also heading several portfolios in the health department; she is also serving as the chairperson of the Emergency Operations Cell (EOC), Sindh.

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