HEC Lingers on Rs510 Million Scam Involving ‘Ghost’ Constituent Colleges in PIFD
By Our Web Reporter
LAHORE–A scam of over Rs510 million in the Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design (PIFD) regarding irregularities and misappropriations of funds allocated for the establishment of six constituent colleges in the country have not yet been completed by the Higher Education Commission Pakistan since long.
A written complaint along with the relevant record leveling several allegations of irregularities, misappropriation of funds, misuse of power, embezzlement, and illegal appointment in the PIFD, was lodged by the employees of the institute to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore in October 2018.
According to the complainants, six constituent colleges in different cities of Pakistan i.e. Islamabad, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Multan, Quetta were established in 2011. These colleges were opened in 2012 just like ‘ghost schools’ to sponge the public money and were shut down without any planning, for allegedly causing loss of Rs510 million to the national exchequer due to poor management and financial skills.
The documents reveal that millions of rupees were spent in the hiring of private houses for campus buildings, purchase of ‘superfluous’ and ‘expensive’ machinery. Hefty salaries were to the ‘blue-eyed’ employees of the consistent colleges.
It further stated that furniture, fixtures, machinery, equipment, and rented premises, were procured/hired at the exorbitant rates and above all one million rupees for feasibility report of these six sub-campuses which resultantly caused millions of rupees loss to the national exchequer.
In this connection, the complainant had stimulated written reminders to the Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) Islamabad on 28 June 2019, a copy of which is available with the Lahore Mirror.
According to the complainant, the HEC has yet to take any action on the case referred by the NAB Lahore despite passing 15 months in this case.
It was also requested to initiate the investigation as per law without any further delay and mentioned that the complainant has not been called for hearing as the complainant is an integral part of the inquiry.
The complainant also forwarded its copies to the Chairman NAB and DG NAB Lahore, and the concerned officer in NAB Lahore.
Moreover, a reminder has also been given by the Additional Director (Staff) for DG NAB, Lahore Muhammad Mazhar Javed to the Chairman HEC Islamabad dated 30/09/2019. The Chairman HEC has been asked for taking appropriate action against the Vice-Chancellor of PIFD.
“The HEC didn’t even bother to call the complainant in this case which speaks high volumes of ‘negligence’ and giving a clear message to the incumbent government and especially to the prime minister to understand the seriousness of both departments,” an official of PIFD told this reporter on condition of his anonymity.
The complainants requested the prime minister to take notice of the PIFD probe scam of millions of rupees and negligence of the Chairman HEC in this case.
The Chairman HEC, Dr Tariq Banuri didn’t reply to the queries of this reporter. He was asked to explain the delay in executing the inquiry referred by the NAB in spite of passing two years. HEC spokeswoman Ayesha Ikram also couldn’t be contacted despite a couple of attempts.