What do M/s. Ehsan Sadiq, Syed Ali Murtaza, Omer Bin Zia and Tariq Abbas Qureshi have in common? For one, they are high level government servants, CSS officers to boot, belonging to the ranks of the ‘heaven born’ District Management Group and the Police Service of Pakistan. As everyone knows, these are the most prestigious bureaucratic positions one can aspire to in our country. But all these gentlemen have a dark side to them: in serious breach of the efficiency and discipline rules governing civil servants, on the sidelines, they are in the payroll of Coffey Development International, a key contractor for DFID, which happens to be the second largest donor in Pakistan after the US Aid.
Something out of Ripley’s Believe it or Not? Incredible, but true. Talk about institutional decline and corruption in high places!
At a time when competent bureaucrats are in extremely short supply, the latest CSS examination has shown a pass percentage of only two per cent, and a Washington think-tank has just called Pakistan a state in terminal decline, the extra-curricular illegalities and money-making antics of these irresponsible renegades are shocking indeed.
But what is equally mind-boggling is that their activities have not attracted the wrath, or even the attention of the relevant federal government departments. And so, they continue on their merry way with impunity, laughing all the way to the (offshore?) banks.
Why this benign neglect on the part of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) or the Establishment Division especially when every rule in the service book is being flouted here, not to talk of apparently minor issues such as morality and fealty?
Another travesty is that the DFID and Coffey Development International are said to be in the know that the officers they have engaged are violating their government service rules but have tended to look the other way. Their alibi perhaps is, if the Establishment Division takes no cognizance of this gross infringement, why should they?
Syed Ali Murtaza (DMG, 21st Common):
According to sources, the brains behind the scheme is Syed Ali Murtaza, of the DMG 21st Common, in grade 19 awaiting promotion but officiating as Commissioner Multan, who has virtually created a cartel of civil servants willing to participate in the bonanza(payment in foreign currency, of course) in the development sector from shadowy foreign donors.
On a sanctioned 90 days ex-Pakistan leave from his last posting as Commissioner Multan (which he is still holding) the enterprising bureaucrat is also working full time with Coffey Development International as Output Team Leader, at the mouth-watering ‘salary’ of £400+ a day. Reportedly he has purchased through a relative several acres of property outside Multan city and is using his official position and public funds to enhance its value. The NAB as well as the government agencies need to change their optician because they are seemingly blind to these goings-on.
Ehsan Sadiq (PSP, 19th Common):
He has leave from the government till 2014 and permission to work on deputation with PCB. He left PCB quickly and is currently GRP (Gender Responsive Policing) Lead at Coffey International Development. He has no permission from government to work with Coffey (A copy of his last leave sanctioned and permission to work with PCB is available with Pakistan Today). His salary is £250 plus per day.
Omer Bin Zia (OMG, 24th Common):
He has missed mandatory NIPA Course for promotion to BS 20, and is languishing in grade 19. He has leave granted and permission from the government to work with the Asian Development Bank on deputation till early 2014. Yet he is and has been working full time as Deputy Team Leader for Coffey International Development, at a salary £350 plus per day. (A copy of his last leave and deputation approval to ADB from Establishment Division is available with Pakistan Today).
Tariq Abbas Qureshi (PSP, 24th Common):
In grade 19, he has leave approval from government of Punjab till February 2014, but no permission from the government to work with Coffey International or any other organisation. He is currently working with Coffey International Development as Policing Investigations Lead in Output 2, at a salary of £250 plus per day.
SENIOR BABUS UNAWARE:
When contacted, Joint Secretary (Admn), Establishment Division Dr Masood told Pakistan Today that he had no clue about the officers working with the IFIs without seeking approval from the government. “Since I don’t deal with the DMGs and PSPs, I am not in a position to respond to the allegations levelled against them,” he maintained.
However, the relevant officer, JS (E), Establishment Division, Dr Akhtar Nazir Warraich, who deals with the DMGs and PSPs did not offer any comments and his staff also said that the officer was not available due to some prior engagements.
The spokesperson of Coffey Development International also refrained from any official response over the issue. When asked whether or not the Coffey Development International had sought proper approval from the government of Pakistan before hiring the services of these bureaucrats, Ms Natasha, the communications officer at Coffey Development International refused to offer any comments, stating that she was not in a position to answer any such query as she was not authorised to comment over. However, after noting all the objections against the officers concerned, Natasha promised to get back with official version after checking with the officials of Coffey Development International.
However, the spokesperson did not respond to this scribe till filing of this report.
With additional reporting by Mian Abrar from Islamabad