KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seems to have stepped up its investigations against Karachi University officials as its team raided the campus on Thursday, the second ‘surprise visit’ within this month, sources told Dawn.
The sources said KU officials had no prior information about the team’s arrival, which left the campus after questioning staff of the estate and finance departments and taking along some documents.
“They forced their entry into the departments, questioned the staff for three to four hours and left after taking along some documents,” said a KU employee, adding that administrative officials were busy in a syndicate sub-committee meeting at the time of the raid.
When contacted, KU registrar Dr Moazzam Ali Khan confirmed the news of the NAB raid and that it was the second time the team had come there this month.
“In both cases, the university administration had no prior information about the NAB team’s visit. There were two officials who asked questions from the staff for a few hours,” he said, pointing out that the officials had a brief conversation with him before leaving the campus.
In their earlier ‘visit’, he added, NAB officials directly came and talked to him, without sharing more details.
He also refused to reply when asked about the specific details about the NAB inquiry and the documents taken away by the bureau officials.
According to sources, the NAB investigation has been initiated on complaints lodged by some KU employees who also provided the bureau with ‘evidences’ on illegal appointments and promotions and misuse of funds.
“I believe the main focus is illegal appointments and promotions which forced the aggrieved parties to complain to the NAB,” said a senior KU teacher on condition of anonymity.
Citing some data on appointments and promotions, he said the scale of these illegal actions was too high as a number of non-teaching staff members had been promoted from lower grades to higher grades bypassing the selection board in recent years.
In his opinion, the inquiry focused on the period from 2006 to 2012 during which Prof Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, former vice chancellor, and Prof Mohammad Qaiser, the incumbent vice chancellor, held the top KU post on the campus.
“One needs to see how the inquiry progresses as the vice chancellor can easily put the blame for an illegal action on the syndicate, the university statutory body which approves all major administrative decisions,” he said.
He also expressed surprise over the silence of the KU administration over ‘the surprise NAB team visits’.
“Nobody in the administration is willing to talk on this. Hence, the majority of teachers don’t know what is actually happening.”
NAB had announced an inquiry against the KU vice chancellor and other employees in May on charges of corruption that involved misappropriation of public funds through illegal payments, appointments and use of provident funds, causing a loss of Rs566 million to the national exchequer.
The decision was taken by the bureau’s executive board at a meeting presided over by NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry.
Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2016