LAHORE: The Chief Minister Inspection Team (CMIT) Punjab has started a high-level inquiry into the alleged corruption in the Primary and Secondary Health Care Department (P&SHD) and in Integrated Reproductive, Mother, New Born Child Health (IRMNCH) programme, besides ‘illegal’ appointment of incumbent director [of the programme] and unlawful contracts awarded to private companies.
The CMIT also started a probe against former health secretary Punjab Ali Jan for illegally facilitating his “alleged front man” and other irregularities in recruitment in top management of IRMNCH programme.
The [proper] inquiry was initiated when the incumbent secretary of primary & secondary healthcare department, Zahid Akhtar, provided all relevant record to the CMIT.
Furthermore, the Punjab services & general administration department (S&GAD) had also taken up the issue with the CMIT providing them with details of irregularities, besides recruitment in senior grades in sheer violation of merit.
IRMNCH director was appointed in violation of SC verdict
A copy of the official documents pertaining to the inquiry and the correspondence of the CMIT with the Punjab health department was also available with Dawn.
When contacted, Mr Zahid Akhtar confirmed to Dawn about the development saying that his department had provided all the necessary record as required by the CMIT.
Interestingly, the [alleged] illegal appointment of director IRMNCH was made during the tenure of Punjab Health Minister Prof Dr Yasmin Rashid.
The official document said Dr Mukthar Husain was recruited as director IRMNCH against rules with a lump sum pay package of Rs500,000 on a contract basis for a period of three years.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had declared ‘market-based’ pay package beyond Rs300,000 unauthorised and illegal.
“He was recruited as director IRMNCH against rules in spite of the fact that he had already been removed from the post of Punjab director general health services due to his inefficiency,” reads the document.
The health department management was also accused of awarding two contracts illegally to private companies in violation of rules.
According to the documents, the contract for supply of the medicines to the hospitals in Punjab was given to TCS illegally through M/s HSHCO.
Similarly, the contract for ambulance services was given to M/s MYSTIC (pvt) Ltd. at Rs35 per kilometre which is an exaggerated price. The contract for ambulance call centre was given to Ufone company and subsequently 50,000 staff members were given Ufone SIMs and were told to arrange load/balance of Rs500 per month from their own pocket against the laid down rules.
The documents further alleged that the warehouse for storage of medicine was rented from the same company i.e MYSTIC at Rs10 million per month.
“Mr Ch. Shafique, the owner of M/s HSHCO Printers, who was alleged to be the front man of the then secretary health Ali Jan was awarded contracts for the supply of various commodities without observing codal formalities and following proper procedures i.e neither advertisement was given in newspaper nor PPRA website was used and PPRA rules were violated as well,” reads the official correspondence of the CMIT.
The inspection team also wrote to the Punjab health secretary that veterinary doctor Mr Tahir Yaqoob was recruited as consultant TB Control Programme on a package of Rs320,000 per month vide order dated April 19, 2017.
Similarly, veterinary doctor Ms Nadia Mukhtar, wife of Dr Tahir Yaqoob, was recruited as senior scientific officer microbiology on a package of Rs300,000 per month.
Dr Ayesha Saulat was recruited as consultant TB Programme despite the fact that she had degree of BDS vide order June 6, 2017.
For the TB Control Programme the donation was given in $249,000 by the Global Fund in addition to $566,633 which were issued for the purchase of machinery illegally while the Global Fund had categorically requested not to spend this donation for any other product except TB medicines.
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2019