Sports Board’s rip-off in the name of Punjab’s youth

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As much else around these parts, the politico-bureaucratic nexus after successfully hushing up financial irregularities and alleged misappropriations running into millions of rupees in the Punjab Sports Festival by Sports Board Punjab, are now all set to devour billions more off the public exchequer through the upcoming Punjab Youth Festival.
Pakistan Today has learnt through unimpeachable sources that serious breaches of financial discipline and misappropriation of funds has been observed in the organization of the recently-held Punjab Sports Festival, with DG Sports Usman Anwer emerging as the principal character, who is at the very least accused of being economical with the truth in official correspondence with regards to transactions. Interestingly despite an initial uproar created by the provincial Finance Department high-ups over such gross financial misconduct, Anwer managed to suppress it in all the concerned departments – the Sports, the Finance and the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
This raises questions on the probity of higher echelons of provincial bureaucracy. But with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) heir-apparent MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif the driving force as the chairman of this entire youth programme and Deputy Speaker Rana Mashud its chief of organizing committee, expecting the Punjab bureaucracy to stand up to it was expecting a little too much.
An official manning a high position on condition of anonymity confided with this scribe that when DG Sports Usman Anwer asked the Finance Department (FD) to transfer funds from the Special Drawing Account (SDA) – under the FD’s watch – to its commercial account on the plea that the cheques to the tune of Rs70 million given to vendors and artistes had bounced. The deception came to light upon probe, as the FD found that Anwer transferred the leftover money from previous years in the SDA to the commercial account, and all issued cheques had been honoured. A copy of the probe is available with Pakistan Today.
This made the finance secretary see red, and he recommended “item-wise scrutiny” and “reprimand”, which the chief minister duly approved.

The then sports department secretary Dr Allah Baksh Malik proposed to the CM Secretariat that the S&GAD should issue ‘reprimand’, and a ‘special audit’ be initiated, expressing grave reservations over the affairs of the Sports Festival.
The CM Secretariat did not consent to the special audit, finding ‘reprimand’ enough, to which Dr Malik remarked: “either approve both or leave it”, because one is not possible without the other.
The entire communication took place through the FD and the file was still there when an ‘unseen hand’ got Dr Malik replaced with Haroon Ahmad as new Sports Secretary, who is said to have procured the file from the FD, sanitized it and closed the issue. Curiously the FD also allowed transferring Rs52 million in addition to Rs75 million to the commercial account, probably at the behest of the same ‘unseen’ hand. Why? This is how a senior official explains: from the SDA, the DG is the drawing authority and thus directly responsible, while the commercial account is operated by the deputy director, who will cop it if the scam is caught.
It hasn’t stopped here: allegations galore over the Sports Festival’s operations. Another document available with Pakistan Today reveals irregularities in the tendering process, and how hefty amounts were spent on minor things without any oversight. To cite a few cases: Blue Moon productions were dished out Rs8 million for lighting, and exorbitant sums spent on purchase of caps and uniforms. These details were among others brought to the knowledge of chairman PSB, secretary sports, the auditor general and the accountant general but there was no response. Sources further allege that out of around 15 sports selected for the Festival including athletics, badminton, hockey, cycling, cricket, football, wrestling, kabbadi, table tennis and the marathon only a few were actually organized at the union council and tehsil levels while charge was footed for the entire list.
And now billions of rupees earmarked for it, the same set of organizers is all set to reenact an even grander rip-off in the Punjab Youth Festival. A senior official seeking anonymity divulged that the DG Sports wanted 10 percent of the districts’ budget (a whopping Rs19 billion) to be dedicated to the Festival, with the FD again not willing to grant more than one percent. But since the DG PSB has backers in high places, the Local Government Department has ordered the districts to allocate four percent of the budget – around Rs8 billion – to the Festival. This huge diversion from a cash-starved department that spends from a total outlay of Rs186 billion around Rs170billion on salaries alone. Imagine he impact off the meager Rs16 billion, half ripped off in the name of the youth to at the cost of public facilities!
As if that was not enough, the DG Sports is said to have met with the IG Police, at one of the many CM Houses, asking with him to divert the Police Sports’ funds to the Youth Festival. Finance Secretary Tariq Bajwa says: “The finance rules cannot be compromised. “If someone needs relaxation in rules, it should be sought before spending the money, not after it. The FD has made it clear to the Sports Department.” Sources however reiterate that the funds are in the commercial account, though no fresh releases for the Youth Festival have been made so far.
DG Sports Usman Anwer when contacted threatened the scribe with “dire consequences”, adding, “I am not commenting on this issue; we will only do so if you publish the story.” Sports Secretary Haroon Ahmad first hung up without commenting, but later conceded that the finance secretary had “noted some reservations on the file and wanted the queries answered. It was a close official meeting; we will submit our replies soon,” he said, quickly jumping to DG Sports’ defence, “If there was something fishy in the conduct of the festival, he would not have retained his post.”

17 COMMENTS

  1. This is what happens when politics is dominated by family members and transparency becomes a casualty. What has Hamza Shahbaz done to qualify for this post, other than being son of CM. His personal lifestyle and fooling around with women like Ayesha Ahad does not serve as a role model. Both Hamza Shahbaz and Dost Mod Khosa dont deserve to hold any public office. Dost Mohd Khosa should be in prison for kidnapping and murder charge of Sapna.

  2. Sounds like a real cooked up story. Unnamed sources…. Ambiguous statements citing "Billions of Rupees" no real facts and figures, Conjectures and Insinuations Galore. No attempt to contact the Punjab Govt and include their version. Really Really bad Journalism.

  3. It started with Sharif (Abaji) during Zia regime and then Nawaz and Shahbaz caughtup and now the third generation a rather ugly looking son of Shahbaz,the only one with natural hair probably.This is how they build their bankaccounts and quickly with the help of financial 'wizards' invest.Period.They do it with public money always.Mulk Sawaro, Sasti Roti,Laptop and this youth scam are some that come to mind and well known.So what next?Will people of Punjab continue to be fooled by this family or will they wake up.Only next elections will tell.

    • Well said. We need to wake the people of Punjab to the corruption infested people that are in PML.N.

      Same for Sindhi to PPP & MQM.

  4. This is exactly why Pakistan has failed to get even a single medal in the Olympics. We are a nation of losers, looters and loose-tongues! We are destined for disaster. As for these corrupt munafiqeen, I am sure their graves are crying out their names in joy and anticipation….these doomed souls!

    • I beg to differ, we are NOT a nation of looters, losers but a nation run by looters and losers. Given half the chance, we will come back 50 medals atleast 😀

      Lets work to bring these corrupt people to justice & therefrom to Hell, their final abode InshaAllah.

  5. Wasn't the drama of the Pakistani flag bearer at the Delhi Commonwealth games proof enough of the corruption in sports?
    Our cricket team is scandal ridden; our hockey team pathetic and our other sporting teams unknown.
    Pakistan is now a lost cause.

  6. A personal witness to the highhandedness and arbitrary style of usman anwar, who claims to have appointed his secretary sports haroon because dr allah bux was a bit too probing and enthusiastic about doing a special audit of the punjab sports festival. Another scam that is missing above is usman anwar's hand in 'not' to install the blue turf at the national stadium for practice of the national hockey team. He twice cancelled the contract because his favorite company did not get the contract. For details please contact: [email protected]

  7. You should know what happened with Tribune when they published a story about a so called corruption of Punjab govt. It was based on lies and they had to take it off. Plz bring some solid proof and comments from both side of the parrties otherwise take this story off.

  8. I've read the story and the paper claims to have documents and have comments from the DG sports and the secretary as well. It is a fair deal, I think.

  9. It is learnt that all the media is very well looked after by the authorities and everybody is getting his due share from the funds of Sports Board Punjab. Either you could not find that opportunity or you are posing yourself a brave and honest person. It will be better for you to contact Amir of c-42

  10. i know Umair Aziz personally, he is a real corrupt person, even morally and would anything for financial gains, so this story is no more than bs, I have visited sports board office several times in past few months and ppl r working there even late night hrs to make this festival a success, mr umair pl don't discourage if someone is trying to do something +ve in this otherwise doom & gloom environment, screw u morally corrupt person

  11. screw you journalist, live & let live, try to digest some healthy activities in otherwise doom & gloom environment, you suck bad

  12. Umair Aziz is a complete corrupt and lacks any sort of morale, probably he didn't get money that he thought he would to not get any of his blackmailer story published. so as a last resort he published a fake story, if people are having any healthy activity why these yellow journalists can't digest it, probably its their nature

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