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PESHAWAR: The violation of merit and misuse of powers by the administration during the last eight years, pushed Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan into deep financial crises, according to an inquiry report.

It said that the university administration showered around 200 posts of BPS-18 to BPA-21 on its teachers in violation of Higher Education Commission criteria.

Mentioned in its report, the inquiry committee of higher education department has found drastic violation of merit and misuse of power in appointment of teachers and administrative staff by different previous vice-chancellors of Gomal University during the last eight years.

The chief secretary had formed the inquiry committee on February 6, 2014 when reports emerged about the financial crisis in the university as it was unable to pay salaries to the employees.

The terms of reference for inquiry committee were: to check whether all the appointments in the university are made in accordance with HEC rationale or in violation of it; and to determine reasons of financial deficit and devise a mechanism for financial assistance to the provincial public sector universities.

The inquiry committee took one year to complete the task. Higher education department has sent the report to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan, who is also chancellor of the public sector universities, for action. This scribe obtained the inquiry from HED under the Right to Information Act, 2013.

The inquiry committee has recommended to the chancellor that “during the tenure of Dr Fareed Ahmed Khan as vice-chancellor, the entire selection process was conducted in a very dubious and questionable manner by the selection board as well as syndicate, therefore, the subject appointments might be declared null and void and the case may be referred to the competent authority for initiating disciplinary action”.

Inquiry report suggests matter may be referred to Ehtesab Commission

Mr Khan in his tenure (June 2007 to November 2009), appointed 45 lecturers in BPS-17 and above on fixed pay for six months. The record shows that the posts of such lecturers were neither advertised nor any selection committee or board was constituted for the appointments, states the report.

In 2008, the university advertised vacancies for making regular appointments. However, the selection board in the absence of an independent member from Public Service Commission recommended 149 candidates for selection in its meeting held from 27-10-2008 to 01-11-2008.

“It was alleged that most of the appointees were relatives/acquaintances of the VC/high ups of the university, selection board, syndicate members and through pre-determined process of selection, they were appointed on basis of favouritism/cronyism,” says the report.

The Public Service Commission normally conducts interviews of 10 to 15 candidates per day and the panel takes at least 20 minutes to interview potential candidates for selection against the posts in BPS-17 and above. However, in the above case, the selection board interviewed 70, 79, 65, 80 and 70 candidates on 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st of October 2008 respectively for the posts in BPS-18 and recommended 15, 20, 16, 20 and 18 candidates for selection per day.

Similarly, 65 appointments cases in BPS-19 and above were decided in only two days on 1st and 2nd of November, 2008.

The expeditious manner in which the interviews were conducted, reflects that either the selection board didn’t exercise due care or the numbers of the board were determined in the selection process. However, in both cases the interest of the university was compromised. In the same tenure, 22 university employees were awarded personnel grades from BPS-18 to 21 what the committee has termed an unlawful act.

In the tenure of Prof Mansoor Akbar Kundi (14-11-2009 to 28-11-2013) as vice-chancellor, 215 teachers were required on the basis of students’ enrolment. However, 127 more teachers were recruited in violation of HED criteria. Similarly, 226 administrative staffers were recruited during the tenure of Mr Kundi which further deepened the financial crisis, reveals the report.

In the tenure of Prof Inayatullah Babar (28-11-2013 to 08-08-2014) as acting vice-chancellor, 63 teachers from BPS-19 to 21 were recruited through selection board dated 5th and 6th April, 2014. Such appointments were not needed in the wake of the existing enrolment and the current financial crises in the university, the report says. Mr Babar should have avoided the appointment as he was working as acting vice-chancellor.

The impartial members of the selection board including member of PSC and vice-chancellor of Kohat University of Science and Technology didn’t attend the meeting which approved the appointment of 63 teachers.

DI Khan is a small city and local members of the selection board can be easily approached. The inquiry committee in its report also mentions that complaints were also received regarding alleged favouritism and irregularities in the recruitment process.

The committee has found that 314 teachers were serving against the required 260 teachers. Currently, 1445 administrative staffers are working against the required 520 posts. The surplus employees are 925, the reports says.

The inquiry committee in its recommendation observes that the faulty recruitment was made during the tenure of Mr Babar may be declared null and void through the legal procedure prescribed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act, 2012.

In its conclusion, the report states that “since huge loss has been caused by consecutive VCs due to gross misuse of their authority, hence the matter may be referred to the Ehtesab Commission for action against them and recover the loss caused to the institution”.

Published in Dawn January 29th, 2015

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