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LAHORE: The Higher Education Department has directed the University of Engineering and Technology’s vice chancellor to immediately de-notify the unlawful appointments made against various key slots, besides recovering salaries and other allowances from those selected for these slots in sheer violation of merit.

The UET administration had filled the posts of registrar, deputy registrars and examination controller in 2013 allegedly in violation of merit.

The appointments appeared to be disputed in the light of an audit carried out in 2014. The administration continued to ignore the audit despite declaring the appointments were liable to be cancelled with immediate effect, Dawn has learnt.

HED wants recovery of benefits from beneficiaries

Official sources say the department may get in trouble in coming days if the UET administration didn’t de-notify the appointments it made.

“The department wants the varsity’s administration to take the action recommended in the proposed draft audit paras before the same are presented before the Punjab Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) headed by the opposition leader, who has been strict on such issues,” says an official.

Requesting anonymity, the official said the varsity didn’t take any action so far despite two letters written to it by the department, besides repeated verbal instructions given in this regard.

According to a letter written on Dec 20, 2016, the UET VC was requested to make strict compliance of the decision of the special departmental accounts committee that asked it to take action as desired in the audit paras.

“The proposed draft para (No 13142) relating to the unlawful/irregular appointment of registrar, deputy registrars and controller of examination (Rs1.12 million loss) was discussed at length in the special departmental accounts committee (SDAC) meeting held on January 25 and committee kept the para pending for compliance as recommended by audit that had the view that the appointments are unlawful, therefore liable to be cancelled,” reads the letter written to the UET’s VC by the department’s additional secretary.

“You are, therefore, requested to make strict compliance of the above SDAC decision immediately by de-notifying the unlawful appointments and making recoveries along with fixing responsibility for non-compliance and submit report within 30 days accordingly,” it sought. A similar letter written by the department in Sept 6, 2016 was sent to the UET seeking compliance of the audit para.

According to concluding para, the audit team rejected the varsity’s stance as unsatisfactory. “The audit is of the view that the appointments are unlawful, therefore, liable to be cancelled. Moreover, the salary and prerequisites received against the said posts shall also be recovered and deposited into the varsity’s account,” reads the audit para.

Audit had pointed out the irregularity in November 2014. The department replied that the Syndicate was the competent authority to appoint varsity teachers and other officers on the recommendation of the selection board for teaching and other posts in BPS-17 and above.

“The department’s reply is not acceptable because eligibility criteria was not fulfilled. Audit is of the view that the appointments shall be cancelled and new appointments shall be made as per law or approval of chancellor be sought,” the audit says.

Commenting on the situation, UET VC Prof Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid said the administration was evaluating the appointments and the audit observations and recommendations in this regard.

“There were many audit paras that were even more serious than the issue of appointments. We have already settled these,” he told Dawn. He said since the process was underway, the varsity administration would take appropriate action soon in this regard.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2016