Saturday October 16, 2021

SELD forms committee to probe purchase of ‘costly’ school desks

September 18, 2021
SELD forms committee to probe purchase of ‘costly’ school desks

The School Education and Literacy Department on Friday formed a five-member committee to investigate the procurement process of furniture for the state-run schools.

The committee will review the purchasing process undertaken by the Central Procurement Committee for the year 2020-21 and will submit the findings regarding the procurement procedure, cost and quality of furniture within three days to the education minister.

The committee comprises convener Asif Ali Memon, special secretary of the General Administration SELD; member Nazimuddin Shaikh, chief engineer of Hyderabad; member Abdula Qadeer Ansari, additional secretary SELD; member Dilawar Mangi, director general planning, development & research SELD; and member Hafeez Raza Shaikh, project director English Medium of SELD.

Earlier, the Transparency International Pakistan had approached the provincial government, saying that the SELD was purchasing a dual desk for government schools for Rs29,500. The cost of one desk was said to be 320 per cent higher than the market rate.

However, when the media highlighted the issue, former provincial education minister Saeed Ghani, along with the current education minister, Syed Sardar Ali, held a press conference and denied all such allegations. During the presser, the ministers vowed that they would investigate the matter, and the results of the inquiry would be shared with the public and whoever needed them.

Meanwhile, Sindh Assembly opposition leader Haleem Adil Sheikh rejected the inquiry committee formed by the Sindh government. In his statement, he said he “absolutely” rejected the committee.

He said a judicial commission should be formed to investigate the matter, but the PPP-led government in order to cover up its corruption had formed an inquiry committee comprising government officers and their subordinates.

Sheikh said it was not possible that people of 18th, 19th and 20th grades could honestly complete the investigation against the chief minister and provincial ministers. The convener of the committee, Asif Ali Memon, had been Saeed Ghani's right-hand man in workers welfare, he claimed.

“Dilawar Mangi is a person who was sent from 19th to 17th grade on corruption charges in the P&D. He was removed from his position due to corruption during Fazlullah Pechuho's tenure,” the opposition leader said and announced that he would approach court and NAB against the provincial government.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sheikh held a press conference in the Sindh Assembly and alleged that the Sindh government had purchased 160,000 desks for public schools for Rs6 billion at much higher price than the market rate by misappropriating Rs3 billion.