Ignoring big fish, Sindh anti-corruption department goes after low-profile cases


KARACHI: The Sindh Enquiries and Anti-Corruption Establishment is taking action against low-profile cases involving embezzlement of funds while corruption enquiries of more than Rs11 billion have been put in cold storage, Pakistan Today has learnt.

Most interestingly, Enquiries and Anti-Corruption Establishment Chairman Mukhtiar Soomro presented a detailed performance report of his department citing what sources claimed was on the gist of “all is well”.

According to the sources, the major share of these inquiries is of the Sindh Works and Services Department that held the share of multi-billions in which more than 70 developments schemes are shown completed with zero documentary proof to support it. “Anti-corruption investigators repeatedly asked the concerned officials to provide relevant records; however, they refused to provide any documentary evidence saying that there were no records available,” sources added.

The Works and Services Department, while bypassing the tendering procedures of the Sindh Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (SPRRA), had awarded contracts in return of bribes,” sources further added.

Furthermore, the office of Hyderabad Provincial Highways executive engineer did not provide details of contracts and development works worth Rs2.994 billion, all of which were not completed.

Similarly, the Larkana Provincial Highways executive engineer awarded uplift works of Rs1.7 billion to his blue-eyed contractors while no development and documentary evidence exists.

The breakup of missing records comprising contracts worth millions of rupees include Dadu executive engineer highways worth Rs280.79 million, Umerkot executive engineer buildings Rs260.32 million, executive engineer highways Sanghar Rs110.8 million, Badin executive engineer buildings Rs140.3 million, Umerkot executive engineer district roads division worth Rs140.1 million, Sukkur executive engineer highways Rs230.3 million, Matiyari executive engineer buildings Rs80.9 million and Karachi executive engineer buildings worth Rs860.2 million.

“Funds of more than Rs710 million were also shown utilised on rehabilitation and renovation work at the shrine of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar; however, the concerned official did not provide any documents to the investigators,” sources said while adding that records of various uplift projects in district Khairpur were also missing.

Separately, Mukhtiar Soomro while assuring that “all is well” in Sindh, presented 2018’s performance report to Chief Minister’s (CM) Advisor on Anti-corruption Barrister Murtaza Wahab on Tuesday.

While briefing the advisor, the chairman said that a total of 114 meetings of anti-corruption committees were held in Sindh in 2018 and some 319 FIRs were registered under the Anti-Corruption Committees of Zone 1, Zone 2 and zone 3. Whereas 1,017 enquiries were conducted and departmental action was been taken against 2,368 officials.

The chairman further briefed that 665 enquiries were disposed of due to non-availability of evidence, 76 enquiries were differed, while 111 cases were reopened. A total of 4,610 cases were registered in 2018.

Barrister Murtaza Wahab told Pakistan Today that corruption had destroyed the society’s structure, adding that joint efforts were required to eradicate this menace.

The advisor directed anti-corruption authorities to not accept any pressure while working on corruption cases. “It is our collective responsibility to root out corruption from society”, he concluded.