–Ministry of Science and Technology starts departmental inquiry against corruption in import/export
ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has started an inquiry into the illegal appointments and promotions in the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and sought detail of some of the officials allegedly involved in corrupt practices.
Through notice sent to the ministry last month, the bureau asked the ministry to provide certified copies of documents/information/details pertaining to some officials working at its attached department Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) as complaints against them were being processed already by the anti-graft body.
The letter, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today, the bureau’s Karachi chapter, under section 27 of National Accountability Ordinance 1999, has sought detail about Mr Akhtar Bughio, Mr Ali Bux Soomro, Mr Nabi Bux Jamali and others, who are presently posted at the PSQCA.
The NAB has sought personal files, salary account numbers, details of transfer/postings since appointment, asset performas submitted by the alleged to the department during their service, details of any departmental inquiry/proceedings initiated against the subject and any other relevant information.
According to sources, Imports and Exports Director Bughio is allegedly involved in corrupt practices while clearing of import items at the ports. The PSQCA officials have been involved in taking kickbacks for clearing import items without laboratory tests and inspection. Bughio is allegedly a dual national but has worked at the PSQCA for more than 10 years.
On the other hand, License and Certifications Director Soomro is also allegedly involved in corruption as the department has also been in the hot waters for taking bribe in return of licenses, NoCs and certifications being issued to manufacturers of around 100 listed items. Soomro allegedly holds two domiciles and he has been working at the authority for 10 years.
According to sources, the bureau has also started investigation regarding other officials of the authority including Secretary Umar Kazi, PSQCA Director Mr Mukhtar, a BS-18 officer. He, being PS to former minister Rana Tanveer, has been involved in the PSQCA affairs. On the direction of the former minister, Mukhtar was given an illegal posting at PSQCA, they claimed.
Since the NAB started probing the heads of the two departments, the ministry has also initiated a departmental inquiry into the irregularities in import/export department. According to a letter, a copy of which is available with this scribe, the ministry will be sending a team to visit the department this month and investigate the corruption allegations against the officials.
The PSQCA Karachi chapter has been asked to prepare a report of the same issue and ensure the presence of all officials/employees concerned during the investigation.
Since PTI Senator Azam Swati took over as the federal minister of science and technology, more corruption cases are likely to surface from the previous tenures, sources said.
Swati, who has served in the ministry during the past, has also reportedly gathered information and evidences regarding corruption cases reported during the past 10 years.