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April 15, 2018

No action against SZH ex-chief in a decade


April 15, 2018

LAHORE: Punjab Health Department has not been able to act against former chairman of Shaikh Zayed Hospital (SZH) Lahore Dr Farid Khan for over a decade for allegedly obtaining fake experience certificate of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) in 2002, documents available with The News revealed.

It may be mentioned the Supreme Court took a suo motu notice of his appointment as SZH chairman in 2015 for a tenure of three years. The court also barred Punjab government from extending his tenure for next term after the expiry of the present term ending in April 2018.

The possession of an alleged fake experience certificate by Dr Farid came to surface for the first time when Dr Ghulam Qadir Fayyaz, the then Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery at Services Institute of Medical Sciences and Services Hospital Lahore, wrote a letter to the Punjab health secretary on September 27, 2007 for verification of the subject document.

In his letter, Dr Fayyaz accused Dr Farid of producing a PMDC certificate showing that his experience in England has been recognised as teaching experience (senior registrar) from 10-10-1996 to 14-11-2000 vide letter no PF.11-F-2002 (1456-P/899 on December 12, 2002) with other documents when he applied for a post of professor of plastic surgery in December 2006 at King Edward Medical University (KEMU).

“Dr Faird had worked just as Senior House Officer and as Registrar in Plastic Surgery in England. He did his FCPS (in Plastic Surgery) in 1998 and FRCS (in General Surgery) in 1999. How it was possible that he could work in UK as Senior Registrar in 1996 without any post-graduation,” wrote Dr Fayyaz, adding, the experience certificate was obtained unlawfully which needed to be verified from the PMDC.

Following the orders of senior officials, Iqbal Tabassum, Section Officer AMI of Health Department Punjab wrote a letter to Maj (retd) Dr Rashid Anjum of the PMDC on September 29, 2007 for verification of the experience certificate issued to Farid. The PMDC confirmed the experience letter was fake.

“I’m directed to refer your letter No.SO(AMI) 2-44/99 dated 29th September, 2007 on the subject above. It is informed that after scrutiny of documents/record is revealed that the enclosed copy of experience certificate is a fake document and has not been issued from our office,” Assistant Secretary of the PMDC responded to the query of the health Department.

Last year, when Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Lahore started a probe against Dr Farid on couple of complaints, the PMDC again responded on January 15, 2018 stating that the subject certificate was a fake document.

The verification officer of PMDC, Syed Masood Hussain Shah, through a letter No.(Verif-Exp/4826-P)/1924 issued on January 15, 2018, has informed the FIA that the experience certificate No.PF.11-F-2002(1456-P/899) on December 12, 2002 signed by Dr Muhammad Rashid Anjum, A.R PMDC was never issued by the Council, and the fact had already been communicated to to the Punjab health department on October 9, 2007.

Despite all this spanning over a decade, Dr Farid continued gaining promotions and even became the chairman of SZH in April 2015 for a three-year term.

It is important to note here that Dr Farid is not facing only this probe at the moment by FIA.

Earlier, The News had reported on 21 heads of department (HoDs) and other senior staff of SZH wrote to the Punjab chief minister on October 27, 16, bringing it into his knowledge the alleged malpractices being committed at the hospital as well as at Kidney/Liver Transplant unit since Dr Farid became the chairman.

They also drew the CM’s attention towards the alleged fake experience certificate of Dr Farid.

The CM, taking notice of the complaint, ordered Chief Minister Inspection Team (CMIT) led by Ali Akbar to investigate the charges. Mr Ali and his team probed the matter and submitted their report to the CM which is yet to be made public.

Sources, however, told The News that the CMIT has proved certain allegations levelled against Dr Farid as true. The charges including one he faced at Mayo Hospital regarding his alleged role in the theft of government equipment, hiring the services of two legal advisers at Shaikh Zayed Hospital, recruitment of around 190 daily-wage employees, etc have been proved against Dr Farid, sources added.

It is also learnt that the CM has formed another committee including Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) and Specialized Healthcare Minister Khawaja Salman Rafique to look into the findings of the CMIT, but the committee has yet to meet since its formation some five months back.

On the other hand, the CM has also ordered a two-member Public Facilitation Committee of Health Department to probe the allegations about Kidney/Liver Transplant unit of SZMH Lahore.

The facilitation committee submitted its report to CM highlighting serious irregularities in the unit during the term of Dr Farid as SZH chairman.

The committee wrote that some patients had expired but expenses were incurred on them after their death. Some bogus names of patients were also created as such patients never came to hospital for treatment and expenses were adjusted against their names.

“Some medicines were issued to such patients who had undergone transplants in the hospital but these were never given to them. These patients actually purchased their medicines from open market and bore all expenses by themselves,” the Facilitation committee wrote in its conclusion.

Having no defence to offer, the committee wrote, the doctors and staff concerned at Kidney/Liver Transplant of the hospital returned the loss caused to the government to the tune of over Rs70 million.

It may be relevant to mention here that CM Punjab had earmarked over Rs 2 million for each patient treated at the SZMH.

Dr Farid’s NGO “Friends of Plastic Surgery” is also under the probe of FIA for obtaining millions of rupees from a US-based NGO Smile Train by submitting fake lists of patients treated by the NGO. The issue was also reported by The News in January 2017.

Zaib ul Nisa Begum, mother of Dr Farid, is president, Dr Farid Ahmad Khan is vice president and Samra Farid, Dr Farid’s wife is also part of the NGO as Finance Secretary.

It is also learnt that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was also approached against Dr Farid for a thorough investigation against him but after the initial scrutiny, the Bureau forwarded the matter to FIA as similar matters were already under investigations with this agency.

Talking to The News, Prof Ajmal of Shaikh Zayed Hospital Lahore said around a two dozen senior professors and other staff members had approached the Chief Minister Punjab last year to probe the charges against Dr Faird Khan. He said the CM taking notice of their complaint, ordered CMIT to investigate the charges.

Talking to The News on Friday, Dr Farid Khan said allegations against him were completely false and frivolous based upon applications by mafia of Shaikh Zayed hospital against which he took actions being the chairman.

Commenting about the fake certificate, Dr Farid claimed that he didn’t obtain the subject certificate from PMDC in 2002 and it was a forged document.

To another question, Dr Farid said the chairman had nothing to do with liver transplants funds issue as he was not the signing authority.

Responding to another query, the Dr Farid said he had nothing to do with the FIR registered on the complaint of Mayo Hospital administration some time back. He claimed that all the missing items of the hospital were recovered and the actual accused person was sent to jail.

To another question, he said no charge could be proved against him in the probe of CMIT.

Kh Salman Rafique didn’t respond when approached even through his PRO and Personal Assistant on Friday.

Similarly, head of the CMIT enquiry team Ali Akbar was approached but he refused to comment on the issue.

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