KARACHI: An accountability court has sentenced a former district officer (education), Karachi, to seven-year imprisonment for embezzling public funds meant for awarding scholarships to girl students of government schools.

Accused Abdul Wahab Abbasi, the then DO (education) Karachi who is currently serving as director schools in Mirpurkhas, was found guilty of embezzling over Rs10.27 million in 2014.

Judge Farid Anwar Qazi of the Accountability Court-IV pronounced his verdict reserved after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.

The judge noted that the prosecution successfully proved the allegations against the accused. The court also imposed a fine of Rs12.735m on the accused and in case of default he would have to undergo an additional two-year imprisonment.

According to the prosecution, an inquiry was initiated on a complaint received from the then executive district officer (education) against the accused.

It further mentioned that the provincial finance department had released Rs197m for award of scholarship to eligible female students of the middle schools in the province under the Sindh Education Reforms Programme of 2004-05.

It added that an amount of Rs94.484m was earmarked for Karachi to be disbursed as Rs1,000 scholarship among female students from class VI to VIII through headmasters and headmistresses concerned.

Special public prosecutor Niaz Hussain Mirani argued that the accused had reported the total number of girl students as 9,435 against the actual number.

He added that the accused got opened an ‘individual’ account with a private bank’s Sindh Secretariat branch and received a total of Rs16.405m in the head of scholarship funds. However, he disbursed only Rs3.6m through 34 cheques and did not return the remaining amount to the government.

The prosecutor submitted that the accused misappropriated/embezzled the remaining amount through open cheques signed by him.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2019