ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has started an inquiry into complaints that someone who apparently died in 2001 is working on three important posts in the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap).
Minister Saira Afzal Tarar said she has taken notice of the allegations and that the matter will be investigated in accordance with the law.
Samiullah Khan Durrani, who owns a pharma company, has said in his complaint, available with Dawn, that Sheikh Akhtar Hussein was involved in embezzlement along with four other persons and that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had therefore filed two references against him in the years 2001 and 2004.
The complaint, the copies of which were sent to the Supreme Court and all important offices, says that the other four suspects have served their punishments but Sheikh Akhtar Hussein managed to declare himself dead due to which the cases against him were closed.
According to the NAB reference of 2004, signed by former NAB chairman retired Lt Gen Munir Hafeez and available with Dawn, Mr Hussein is accused of having embezzled Rs51 million.
According to the NAB reference of 2001, signed by former NAB chairman retired Lt Gen Khalid Maqbool and available with Dawn, Mr Hussein is accused of embezzling Rs1 million.
However, in both the references, Mr Akhtar has been declared dead and according to the law, cases cannot be pursued against dead persons.
“The other four suspects were sentenced to 40 years in prison and they served three years of their sentences. They were released after appealing in various courts and after the Supreme Court reduced their sentences,” Mr Durrani told Dawn.
He said he has also requested the ministry to investigate if Mr Akhtar was really dead and if someone else was working as him.
“I cannot understand how such a person can be given such important posts,” he said.
A Drap official said Mr Akhtar is a BPS 19 officer and holds three offices in BPS 20 including that of director administration, human resources and logistics; director medical devices and director quality assurance.
Despite repeated attempts including text messages, Mr Akhtar did not comment on the issue.
Talking to Dawn, Drap Chief Executive Dr Mohammad Aslam said: “Mr Akhtar managed to declare himself dead by himself during the NAB investigations. He did not use the ministry’s platform for sending letters to declare himself dead. Therefore, the ministry and Drap have nothing to do with the case.”
The NHS minister said she has taken notice of the complaint and that action will be taken according to the law.
She said the incident happened before she came to the ministry.
“A committee will be constituted to look into the issue and find out if the allegations are true,” she said.
Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2017