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March 31, 2019

Civil Hospital ex-MS, others acquitted in NAB reference on medical purchases

Karachi

March 31, 2019

An accountability court on Saturday acquitted six people charged with embezzlement of over Rs6 million public funds meant to purchase medicine for Civil Hospital, Karachi, which has been officially named Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in 2010 had filed a reference against the hospital’s then medical superintendent Dr Mirza Raza Ali, pharmacy owner Nazeer Ahmed Arain, and medicine distributors, Mansoor Ahmed Khan, Ismail Junejo, Moiz Kashmiri and Adnan Siddiqui.

According to the federal anti-graft watchdog, the suspects colluded with each other to unlawfully award a contract for purchase of medicines to a private firm without entering into bidding. NAB accused the suspects of creating fake bills and embezzling Rs6.59 million of public funds.

The reference stated that the Sindh finance department allocated Rs65 million for medicines procurement in the fiscal year 2003-04. It read that Dr Ali misused his authority and purchased from the Star Distributors 50 Berirab P injections, the total cost of which was Rs263,500, without adhering to the Sindh Purchase Manual 1991 as the firm had not participated in the bidding process.

The bureau claimed that the accused in collusion with each other prepared fake medicine supplies bills invoices along with indents and received money in their bank accounts, causing losses worth Rs6.59 million to the national exchequer which they distributed same among themselves.

The defence counsels denied the allegations contained in the reference and claimed innocence on behalf of their clients. They maintained that the reference was based on mala fide intentions and the allegations were false and fabricated.

The accountability court-IV judge, Farid Anwer Qazi, pronounced his verdict that was reserved earlier after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides. The judge relieved all the accused of the charges. The trial against their alleged absconding accomplice Shahzad Ali Khan was kept on dormant file until his arrest or surrender.

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