Sindh universities Irregularities have been detected in accounts

KARACHI:13 April: Irregularities have been detected in the accounts of boards and public universities in Sindh.

According to a report prepared by the Auditor-General of Pakistan (AGP) in 2017, millions of rupees have been embezzled in funds for education boards and public universities. The report also states that officials of boards and varsities utilised government funds in their foreign and local tours without any justification. Some officials also initiated projects without awarding tenders and transferred the funds to their own accounts.

During the audit of the director of the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Chair at Karachi University (KU), it was observed that an amount of Rs24 million was paid to Shams Zain Meo Rajput Construction Company vide Cheque No 120226 prior to the award of work and signing of the agreement. “Neither [was] the bank guarantee obtained nor was interest charged from the contractor. This matter was raised with the management of chair, but it was not tenable,” the report reads. According to it, the audit team has recommended an inquiry to fix responsibility on the person at fault, besides remedial measures.

Regarding the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS), Jamshoro, the report, which is available with The Express Tribune, says that an amount of Rs4.15 million was embezzled in the pension fund. The report claims that no record pertaining to this matter was produced before the audit team.

During the audit of the office of KU vice-chancellor for the financial year 2015-16, it was observed that the Higher Education Commission handed 3,870 laptops over to KU to distribute among eligible candidates under the Prime Minister’s Laptop Scheme. The varsity could only submit details of 3,838 laptops, while 32 laptops were found missing. “The students’ adviser reported that the matter of missing laptops has been communicated to the vice-chancellor for detailed inquiry and lodging of an FIR, but no progress was found on record,” the report reads.

‘Stop tinkering with education in Sindh’

According to the AGP report, work for the construction of a boys hostel at the NED University of Engineering and Technology was awarded to Jafson and Co with a total cost of Rs27.3 million. However the consultant was hired without invitation tenders and work was initiated without availability of funds.

“The audit of various institutions under the administrative control of the boards and universities secretary revealed that an expenditure of Rs609 million was incurred under various heads, including procurements, works, projects, investment, repair and maintenance,” the report claims, adding that most of the funds were used without the approval of budget from the senates of respective institutions.

Irregularities were also detected in the affairs of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Medical University Larkana where an amount of Rs262 million for civil works was awarded to various contractors in excess of the cost mentioned in PC-1. Citing an example, the report says, “Actual cost of sewerage and electricity work is Rs47 million but [the] university administration has mentioned the expenditure [to be] Rs92 million.”

Apart from this, an amount of Rs2 million was paid to workers on a project at the varsity without the mention of any provision for such payments in the PC-1 of the project. The varsity’s spokesperson, however, defended the administration. “This amount pertains to travelling, fuel, [and] medical and vehicle maintenance cost for the project’s employees,” he said.The news.