-Akhtar Bughio, Ali Bux Soomro, Muhammad Yaseen Akhtar, Khalid Ahmed Bablani, Abdul Ghaffar Khan Niazi and many others given important posts, responsibilities despite corruption inquiries against them
– Committee members laughed at illegal promotions made by Director Finance Ali Bukhari
ISLAMABAD: After finding out how government organisations are deeply rooted in corruption and illegal activities, a Senate body has asked the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) to send case of corruption and illegal appointments/ promotions in Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), an attached department of the ministry, to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) for investigation.
During a recently held meeting of the Sub Committee of Senate’s Standing Committee on Science and Technology, which was chaired by Senator Sikandar Mandhro, the members of the committee observed that PSQCA, the only authority to ensure standard and quality of over 100 food and non-food items in the country, is currently facing serious administrative and governance issues as numbers of corruption cases have been surfaced during few meetings of the Senate panel.
“How and why has such an organisation has been left at the mercy of corrupt officials and interests’ group. Whenever we go after a case, more such cases surface in the organisation,” said Sikandar Mandhro.
“The rivalry among officials within the organisation, as a result of illegal appointments and promotions, has also badly affected the performance of PSQCA. The number of applications and complainants we receive from affected employees indicate that something is seriously wrong with the administration of the organisation,” he said while suggesting that the federal secretary of MoST should send all corruption and illegal appointments/promotion cases to NAB and FIA.
MoST Secretary Capt (r) Nasim Nawaz also admitted that issues related to PSQCA needed to be taken up seriously as, during a one day visit to PSQCA in Karachi, he noticed a large number of issues with the organisation. Since the secretary has taken charge of the ministry a few weeks ago, he said that he needed some time to rectify things at the authority and promised to share an initial report about PSQCA with the Senate body within the next 15 days.
The subcommittee of the Senate’s Standing Committee was formed to discuss the allegations of senior officials of PSQCA regarding their promotions during a meeting of the committee in Karachi in March 2019. The committee heard cases of Import/Exports and Finance Director Nazir Hussain, Media Advisor Rehmatullah Memon and PSQCA Examiner Lal Muhammad Rajar.
During the meeting, Memon claimed that since he had challenged the appointment of PSQCA Secretary Umar Kazi and Director Legal Irshad Ali Ansari, the two had deprived him of his rightful promotion for over 8 years by creating various technical and legal hurdles despite the Sindh High Court (SHC) decision in favour of his promotion. Similar grievances were also presented by Nazir and Rajar.
On the committee convener’s direction, the MoST secretary said that he would personally look into these cases and assured of maximum facilitation to the employees affected by the corruption.
Interestingly, a large number of other cases related to corruption, illegal appointments and promotions also surfaced during the meeting which the PSQCA officials could not defend.
Further, the committee members laughed when a case regarding illegal promotion was shared with them in which an officer of BS-18, Director Finance Ali Bukhari, while holding an acting charge of PSQCA secretary for only five days, had promoted four officials to BS-19.
Last year NAB had started an inquiry into the illegal appointments and promotions in PSQCA.
Through a letter, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today, the bureau’s Karachi chapter, under section 27 of National Accountability Ordinance 1999, had sought details about officials including Akhtar Bughio, Ali Bux Soomro, Nabi Bux Jamali and others who are presently posted at the organisation. The NAB had sought personal files, salary account numbers, details of postings since appointment, asset performance submitted by the alleged to the department during their service, details of departmental inquiries initiated against the subject and any other relevant information.
According to sources, the MoST and PSQCA have already kept files shelved about a fact-finding report which included the illegal appointments made during the PPP’s government.
TRANSFER AND POSTING AT PSQCA:
After a recent visit to PSQCA by MoST Minister Fawad Chaudhry, a reshuffling has been made in the organisation on May 14, 2019, with the transfer and postings of eight officials.
Interestingly, many of those transferred and posted on important posts have had corruption charges against them for years. “The transfer and posting of the corrupt officials, who are facing inquiries at NAB, FIA and within the department, will make no difference,” said an official at PSQCA while adding that the new minister has done nothing but given more responsibilities to those already facing inquiries.
According to them, officials including Akhtar Bughio, Ali Bux Soomro, Muhammad Yaseen Akhtar, Khalid Ahmed Bablani, Abdul Ghaffar Khan Niazi and many others have been given important posts and responsibilities despite pending inquiries against them.