- PEF unable to complete enquiry against FAS director involved in selling 65,000 old textbooks meant for school children despite a lapse of one year
- FAS director, additional director charged with use of arbitrary authority, erratic behavior, misconduct and use of influence to avert inquiry
- FAS director refutes accusations, blames it on DMD (Operations) Tanveer Zafar
Another scandal rocks the boat of the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF), blowing the lid off the ‘slack’ attitude of its high ups in dealing with corruption scandals, Pakistan Today has learnt.
It has been a lapse of more than a year that the PEF authorities have not been able to complete the enquiry against Foundation Assisted Schools (FAS) Director Nadeem Masood allegedly involved in selling old textbooks meant for school children.
According to further details, more than 65,000 books were leftover from the stock of free books given by the Punjab Textbook Board (PTB) for the schools. Masood allegedly visited Multan office in May last year and instructed Additional Director Nasir Akram to sell all old textbooks (all of them ‘not for sale’) available at the office.
DELAY DESPITE SHOW CAUSE NOTICE: The show cause notice of misconduct issued only a month later to both Masood and Akram further reveals that the former also received more than Rs 50,000 from the additional director as part of the same scandal. It also mentions use of “arbitrary” authority without sanction from the “competent authority”. The notice also mentions previous warnings (both verbal and in writing) issued to Masood to refrain from behaving “erratically”, yet he committed “misconduct”.
Although the notice requires both the officials to file a reply within three days of the receipt of the notice, the department authorities have failed to finalise the probe and fix the responsibility on anyone in the scandal despite a lapse of more than a year.
Sources privy to the development however revealed on the condition of anonymity that the incumbent PEF MD Aneela Samuel has constituted a committee to probe the matter. They further maintained that replies have also been sought from all parties involved.
“Masood has submitted in his reply that he was asked to pass on those instructions by DMD (Operations) Tanveer Zafar in a coordination meeting. However all three senior PEF officials present in that meeting have denied in front of the enquiry committee issuance of any such instructions by Zafar,” sources added.
Interestingly, however it is the same DMD (Operations) who served show cause notices to both officials.
REBUTTALS AND THE BLAME GAME: Talking to Pakistan Today Masood however denied the allegations and said he has already submitted an 82-page reply before the enquiry committee and it is up to the authorities now to decide the matter.
“It is an old matter which has been brought up again by people with ulterior motives, as I don’t even directly deal with books or selling them, no way I can pass these directions nor is someone bound to obey my orders as I am not that senior in the hierarchy,” Masood added.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that the PEF has been rocked by a scandal involving misappropriation of funds or irregularity committed as even previously inquiries against PEF senior officials remained jeopardised due to unknown reasons.
This also created a lot of resentment among the lower staff which allege “discriminatory” attitude on the part of authorities, as seniors keep enjoying perks and privileges despite enquiries while lower staff is suspended and perks and privileges are stopped.
One of the official on the condition of anonymity further alleged that the reason the inquiry is not being finalised is because Masood’s blood relatives are on senior positions in bureaucracy and police.
“His [Masood’s] actual shield is relations in civil service and police which have asked their colleagues to hush up the matter or if need be, give a favourable verdict. This is also the reason that the MD has gone abroad now,” official added.
Masood however denied these allegations also saying, “Someone posted on a senior position implies he or she has some qualities and only because I am related to them does not mean they are corrupt or I have done something wrong. It’s just propaganda against me,” he added.
WE LIKE TO KEEP IT CONFIDENTIAL: PEF DMD (Finance) Salman, who is a part of the enquiry committee, said it is not appropriate to disclose “confidential” information regarding an ongoing inquiry. He however said the chairman and the managing director are the competent authorities to sanction an inquiry or make a final decision.
“The inquiry is ongoing and we will submit our findings and suggestions to the MD and the chairman who will decide the matter finally,” he added. To a question he said the MD has gone abroad for the completion of her thesis on a month’s leave.
I JUST CAME IN: PEF Chairman Raja Anwar however told Pakistan Today that he has been abroad to Germany and the UK for treatment and has returned only days ago.
“I’ve not been able to focus on work because of really bad health and just recently returned; but it is the MD’s responsibility to manage such inquiries and pass a decision. These reasons definitely need to be probed who are trying to jeopardise the good work done in setting up an institution like PEF. It is a shame if some officials are involved in such activities despite getting three times the due salary,” he added.