Monday October 18, 2021

SC orders forensic audit of Rs20b PKLI

June 04, 2018

LAHORE: Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar Sunday ordered forensic audit of alleged irregularities in Pakistan Kidney and Liver Transplant Institute (PKLI) affairs.

The chief justice was heading a two-member bench to hear the suo motu case against the irregularities in PKLI. Irked by the head of the institute, Dr Saeed Akhtar, the chief justice barred him from travelling abroad without court’s permit.

The bench inquired from Saeed Akhtar about the details of expenditure of Rs20 billion, which was allocated to the institution from the national exchequer. The CJ remarked that no one would be allowed to run away from the process of accountability. “Hiring doctors on salaries as high as Rs1.2 million, that’s how you serve your country?” the CJ crossly asked.

While pointing out irregularities in the construction process, the top judge stated that even the finest construction are done at the rate of Rs3,000 per square feet but PKLI got it done at the price of 10,100 per square feet. “Should we not summon former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif for him to witness the situation here?” Saqib Nisar remarked while adding, “This is not a kingdom that would run on the orders from the king. Everyone has to go through strict accountability and those responsible for the corruption will be punished.”

In an attempt to justify, Dr Saeed said that he enjoyed unblemished career untainted with any corruption and Shahbaz Sharif had nothing to do with the salaries of PKLI employees. The apex court directed for submitting a complete forensic report of the institution’s expenses in three weeks time. PKLI came under fire in March after comparisons were drawn between doctors who worked at government hospitals and those at PKLI. The CJ had expressed anger at the gap between salaries.

During a hearing on March 24, the CJ took notice of disparity in salaries of doctors working at government-owned health facilities, saying those called from abroad are paid a hefty sum while the local ones are given a small amount. The chief justice had remarked that the PKLI was an institute which hired foreign doctors. But what was the fault of doctors performing duties earnestly at government hospitals, he asked. He had remarked that the government hospital doctors should also be paid a high salary so that they did not have to practise illegally.