Alleged financial scam involving former FUUAST director yet to resolve

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  • NAB moved to probe HEC Chairman for embezzlement in FUUAST

  • FUUAST Registrar refuses to comment on FUUAST embezzlement case


ISLAMABAD:
Despite a lapse of several years, the alleged financial scam involving Arshad Kamran, the former Planning and Development (PD) Department director, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST), Karachi has not been resolved.

According to the documents available with Pakistan Today, a selection committee, which also included Dr Mukhtar, had appointed Arshad Kamran as PD Department director, who only have MA (Master of Arts) Islamiat 3rd division and have no relevant experience. Arshad Kamran is believed to be a close friend of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed.

The documents showed that he did not obtain first division throughout his education even though it was a clearly mentioned requirement. He was preferred over PhD degree holders in the competition.
The HEC- planned National Law University in Karachi, which would have cost Rs 473 million, could not come to fruition. However, purchased equipment worth Rs 18 million was handed over to Kamran. He took over 185 items, worth of millions of rupees, from National Law University on behalf of FUUAST, which were not handed over to the university administration.

A former registrar of the Federal Urdu University wrote to the director of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on November 13, 2014, saying that Arshad Kamran, the then PD Department director, had committed fraud. The letter urged the FIA to initiate an investigation against him.

“He has floated a tender for the construction of an academic block for Rs 178 million although in the PC-1, the project cost was approved as 112 million,” read the letter.

The letter also alleged that he had failed to properly supervise the construction work of the building and ensure quality control.

As per an HEC letter, dated October 17, 2011, “he has taken over 185 items from National Law University on behalf of Federal Urdu University, these items consisted of air conditioners, electric generators (100 KV & 800 KVs), computer systems, laptops, furniture, electric appliances and vehicles worth millions of rupees. They were not handed over to the university administration and by failing to do so, he has committed fraud with the university; hence action will highly be appreciated.”

On November 13, 2013, the university’s registrar sought an explanation from Arshad Kamran within seven days regarding the irregularities.

According to the Special Audit Financial Year (2012-2013 to 2014-2105), whereabouts of movable assets received from HEC was not known.
Regulations demand that all materials received should be examined, counted, measured or weighed when delivery is taken, and they should be taken in by a responsible government officer who should see that the quantities are correct and their quality acceptable, then record a certificate to that effect. The officer receiving the stores should also be required to give a certificate that he has actually received the materials and recorded them in the appropriate stock register.

The management of the varsity received physical assets, including vehicles, computing equipment, generators, air-conditioners, furniture and library books, from the HEC worth Rs 6.953 million as per agreement.

An audit observed that the management of the university received similar physical assets from HEC worth Rs.11.494 million as per the agreement between FUUAST and HEC.

“The stock was not examined, counted or checked when the delivery was taken. The stock was not taken in charge by a responsible government officer to verify the quantity and quality of the goods,” according to an audit observer.

There was also no certification or records regarding the receipt of equipment.

An HEC Selection Board meeting presided over by  Dr Mukhtar Ahmed on July 16, 2014, was due to consider the promotion of officers working in BPS-18, BPS-19 and BPS-20.
Instead of taking action against Kamran for the irregularities, the selection board recommended that he may be promoted on an acting charge basis against the available post of director general (BPS-20), reserved for promotion and directed to place his case before the board after earning one good Performance Evaluation Report (PER) so that his promotion could be considered as permanent.

Since the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has already decided to conduct an inquiry against the allegedly illegal appointment of the HEC chairman, Advocate Dr Tahir Rasheed has written to the accountability bureau to probe Dr Mukhtar for his role in the appointment of Arshad Kamran as Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology PD Department director and the embezzlement he had allegedly been involved in.

Tahir demanded that since Mukhtar’s appointment had been made on a political basis, his movable and immovable assets should also be checked because he is the head of an important institution with a budget of around Rs 100 billion.

FUUAST Registrar Shah G Muhammad refused to comment over the issue of 185 items involving Kamran.