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April 19, 2018

10 mega corruption cases of Sindh depts closed


April 19, 2018


KARACHI: Sindh Provincial Anti-Corruption body -- Inquiries and Anti-Corruption Establishment (I&ACE) closed inquiries of 10 plus mega corruption cases of many Sindh government departments, The News has learnt.

In Sindh, for the last many years, the I&ACE has been usually used as a tool to take on political opponents but recently the department broke all the records of closing mega corruption cases.

Official documentary evidence suggest that inquiries of some 10 mega corruption cases initiated in Sindh Text Book Board, Sindh Livestock Department, Karachi Intermediate Board, Board of Revenue, Sindh Public Procurement Regularity Authority (SPPRA), Sindh Industrial Trading Estate Limited (SITE) and others but all the inquiries and investigations -- without completing the process, presenting the matters before the anti-corruption committees, lodging of FIRs, conducting of proper inquiry, arrest of accused persons -- concluded mysteriously, and in some of the cases record was concealed by the officials of the department.

According to the official record of I&ACE department available with ‘The News’ recently on February 28, an inquiry was initiated regarding alleged corruption of Rs520 million and misuse of funds by Sindh Text Book Board top boss but surprisingly within the passage of only two days inquiry was closed.

A notice under section 160 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), copy available with ‘The News’, was sent to the official asking him to provide information about illegal and irregular payments of Rs500 million plus to publishers against kickbacks and embezzlement of funds in year 2015 to 2018 but surprisingly same inquiry was closed within two days.

The official was removed by the Sindh government on February 14 following the complaints of alleged corruption and embezzlement of funds ofthe Board. The officer challenged the order in the Sindh High Court (SHC) and got stay order on February 20. During the stay period, he, on February 25, made some suspicious payments of Rs520 million to different publishers whose notice was taken by provincial anti-corruption body following a complaint made by a citizen.

The SHC dismissed his plea on March 20 and directed the Sindh government to post appropriate officer against the post within one month period and directed chief secretary and Sindh Education Department secretary to make forensic audit of amounts spent by the official and submit the report to the SHC through Member Inspection Team.

Another inquiry of billions of rupees corruption has also been closed. The inquiry was initiated against two former secretaries of Sindh government -- both from the District Management Group (DMG) officers and former project engineer and one Auditor of Sindh Livestock Department and two contractors in Bhambore Dairy Project, Thatta of Sindh Livestock Department in April 2015.

Earlier, this mega corruption scandal was unearthed by ‘The News’ on November 21, 2013 and matter remained untouched due to the influence of former secretary of the department.

According to the official documents of Sindh Livestock Department and Sindh Anti-Corruption Establishment in 2012, one former secretary withdrew Rs700 millions with the cooperation of then accountant of the department in the name of different projects including ‘Bhambore Dairy Project, Thatta’ and fled the country. Interestingly despite knowing the fact of his corruption, the Sindh government had approved ex-Pakistan leave for the period of five years of this officer.

Audit Report 2011-12 of Auditor General of Pakistan had also revealed the fact of this mega corruption. The Audit Department pointed out the matter and recommended a thorough investigation into this scam in September 2012, but no proper inquiry was conducted by the Sindh government.

According to the content of First Information Report of Sindh Anti-Corruption Establishment after the said secretary, another officer of DMG took the charge of secretary of the department and he also chose the same path of corruption and embezzled millions of rupees. This officer accused of corruption nowadays posted in Punjab government on a very important position.

Inquiry of corruption matter in Sindh Public Procurement Regularity Authority (SPPRA) is also a unique case as Anti-Corruption Department initiated inquiry in February against alleged corruption in authority but inquiry was closed immediately.

Inquiry of corruption matter in Sindh Public Procurement Regularity Authority (SPPRA) is the most unique case. An inquiry was initiated for alleged corruption against a former SPPRA chief and he was removed from his position but within days inquiry officer of the case was suspended and sent back to his parent department. Interestingly the former SPPRA head has nowadays been posted as special secretary in the same anti-corruption body. Like mega corruption cases of Sindh Text Book Board and Sindh Livestock Department, inquiries of Karachi Intermediate Board, Sindh Public Procurement Authority, Board of Revenue and a matter of forgery and then illegal occupation upon some 2000 acres of Evacuee Trust lands were also closed. This reporter met Inquiries and Anti-Corruption Establishment Chairman Alam Din Bullo and requested him for detailed point of view as head of the department on all issues.

Mr Bullo told this reporter that no case of corruption was closed without fulfilling the legal formalities. When this reporter pointed out matters of Sindh Text Book Board, Sindh Livestock and Sindh Public Procurement Regularity Authority and others which were closed and offered to provide the evidence, Chairman Bullo did not show any interest and said that as he did not have any suo motu powers to initiate any inquiry at his own, proper complaint along with the solid evidence should be sent to him with the actual name of complainant.

“Any proper complaint will be entertained if made by any person with his correct name and copy of National Identity Card (CNIC) number, otherwise no complaint would be entertained by his department” added Bullo.

Replying to a question, Bullo said no corrupt person under inquiry could be freed and he would inquire the matters which this reporter had pointed out. Despite raising many questions, Bullo avoided replying most.




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