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March 14, 2019

Laptop scheme: Decision only after NAB probe: minister


March 14, 2019

LAHORE: It is not the duty of the Higher Education Department (HED) to investigate corruption cases, and the question regarding the purchase of laptops at a rate higher than the market value in the previous government could be answered after investigations by the National Accountability Bureau.

This was stated by Punjab Minister for Higher Education Raja Yasir Humayon while talking to the media outside the Punjab Assembly here on Wednesday.

“The NAB will determine whether the accusation is right or wrong, the former CM can be acquitted of corruption charges only after NAB investigations,” he said.

To a question related to corruption in laptop schemes in the government of Shahbaz Sharif, the provincial minister said the HED answer presented in the Punjab Assembly a day earlier was presented out of context. This is noteworthy that responding to a question posed by PTI MPA Momina Waheed regarding corruption in the laptop scheme during the question hour on Tuesday, the house had been told: “So far no person has been found involved in any irregularity, however, the NAB has initiated an inquiry since March last.”

The minister said the answer explained that the procurement rules were followed and the laptops were distributed among students according to existing facts. The question regarding the purchase of laptops at a price more than the market value could be answered after NAB investigations, he added.

Answering a question about student unions, he said the government is not against student unions but no act of brutality can be permitted in educational institutions in the name of student politics. “The unions should be formed only for the betterment of our students but, unfortunately, in the past, these had been used for political benefits,” the minister said, adding that the government is devising a policy and a decision regarding the revival of student unions would be taken after consultation with other stakeholders.

Meanwhile, Spokesman to Chief Minister Shahbaz Gill has said the perception that the government has given a clean chit to former CM Shahbaz Sharif in the laptop scheme is totally wrong.

In a video message, he said it is a prerogative of the Anti-corruption Department and the NAB to find out whether corruption was committed in any department or not. He said the PML-N tried to twist facts over the answer given by the Higher Education Department in the Punjab Assembly, adding that allegedly there were high chances of corruption in the laptop scheme. He said in projects like Ashiana and Saaf Pani, many people have been convicted.

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