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July 7, 2015

‘RSU corruption reports to be thoroughly probed’


July 7, 2015

The provincial education secretary vowed on Monday that reports of irregularities in the Reform Support Unit programme would be thoroughly investigated.
“If anyone is found guilty, they would face departmental action,” Dr Fazlullah Pechuho told reporters at the Sindh Secretariat.
“The RSU is run with the help of international donors including USAID, the European Union and the World Bank,” he explained. “The donors as well as the education department have set their own indicators to prevent any malpractice in the RSU.”
Pechuho maintained that the National Accountability Bureau had not conducted any raid at the RSU at the Government Boys Narayan Jagannath Vaidya Higher Secondary School on MA Jinnah Road and some misleading reports were being broadcast and published by a section of the media.
However, he conceded that that there had been incidents of misuse of powers and evidence was available to prove them.
“The provincial education department has fully cooperated with NAB and also shared a list of teachers, employees and other staff with it to facilitate it in its investigation,” he said.
“Besides NAB, the anti-corruption department is also investigating the case and the education department will terminate the services of employees found involved in corruption.”
Pechuho also expressed his annoyance with the “double standards” of the audit general Pakistan.
He said the audit general Pakistan had written a letter to the education department, giving it a clean chit, but after a week, issued another letter wherein there was an allegation of corruption worth Rs10 billion in the department.
“The audit report is baseless and amount was misreported, as the Sindh government had issued us around Rs6 billion, not Rs10 billion, and even then no payment was made from that specific fund as we pay on the basis of performance only.”
The secretary said it seemed that some elements wanted to stop the

education sector’s funds and had targeted the RSU to achieve their goals.
“The misguiding report of the audit department is also aimed at achieving that purpose.”
Pechuho said he had asked the audit general Pakistan to conduct the audit again and issue a factual report.
Speaking about illegal appointments in the education department, Pechuho said around 12 or 15 people were involved in this activity had been served with show-cause notices.
However, Pechuho avoided mentioning the name of former provincial education minister and Pakistan People’s Party Mazharul Haq who is facing charges of illegally hiring employees.
“Over 15,000 illegal appointments took place in the education department in Karachi alone in the recent past and numbers will increase significantly if the figures of rural Sindh are also included,” he said.
The secretary pointed out that the education department had introduced a biometric system to trace the presence of ghost teachers and so far, the record of around 54,710 teachers had been compiled and verified. He added that there were about 0.15 million teachers in different categories in Karachi.
Pechuho said he displeased with the attitude of the lower staff that was responsible for withholding the salaries of newly-appointed teachers.
“The education department has hired teachers through the National Testing Service but some elements were deliberately creating hurdles in issuing their salaries.”
He said that if the staff continued withholding the salaries, the education department would refer the case to NAB.
He secretary said there were around 20,000 government schools without washrooms.
“If the Sindh government wants to increase the enrolment rate, especially that of girls, then all basic needs like washrooms and access to clean drinking water should be met on an emergency basis.”
The secretary also denied that Rangers has encroached upon a portion of land at the DJ College.
Interestingly, the claim of encroachment was recently made by the principal of the college himself. The secretary said the previous local government had constructed many non-viable schools in the province and most of them were being used as sitting rooms of influential individuals.
Pechuhu also said he had no problem if two secretaries worked in the education department.
“I have personally sent a summary to the chief minister to implement the idea of having two secretaries in the department.”
He said the under-construction building of the Sindh Textbooks Board had been demolished and new one would be completed within a year.

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