Over 1,500 ‘ghost’ and ‘dubious employees’ found in P&SHD

Updated January 17, 2020

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More than 200 ‘ghost’ and 1,300 ‘dubious employees’ have been detected in the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department (P&SHD), inflicting loss worth millions of rupees on the exchequer, Dawn learnt on Thursday. — Creative Commons/File
More than 200 ‘ghost’ and 1,300 ‘dubious employees’ have been detected in the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department (P&SHD), inflicting loss worth millions of rupees on the exchequer, Dawn learnt on Thursday. — Creative Commons/File

LAHORE: More than 200 ‘ghost’ and 1,300 ‘dubious employees’ have been detected in the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department (P&SHD), inflicting loss worth millions of rupees on the exchequer, Dawn learnt on Thursday.

The issue surfaced after a committee constituted to probe first such case in Shiekhpura traced several others in various districts of the province.

Headed by Special Secretary Mohammad Ajmal Bhatti, the committee comprised Additional Secretary (admin) Sara Ahmed Cheema which completed the report on Thursday.

The committee had been working on the matter for the last few months and it feared that the number of ‘ghost’ and other ‘dubious employees’ might increase as the second phase of the investigation was about to start in coming weeks.

Secretary says finance wing told to stop their salaries

An official privy to the information told Dawn that the committee in its report stated that out of the total 213 ‘ghost’ employees detected during probe, Sargodha topped with 33 such staffers.

The report further stated that Attock stood second with 26 ‘ghost’ employees, Sheikhupura 16, Sahiwal 14, Jhang and Bahawalpur with 11 each and Mianwali 10.

Of them [213], 25 were those drawing double salaries for years, he said adding 27 had retired, 13 died, 159 not traceable, nine on leave, two on deputation and three had been dismissed from service.

P&SHD Secretary retired Capt Muhammad Usman issued order for a high-level inquiry into the malpractice against heads of all the concerned district health administrations and account officers to fix them for the criminal negligence.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Usman said [on Thursday] he asked the finance wing to immediately stop salaries and other privileges to more than 15,00 employees till further order.

He said the directions were issued after reviewing a report of ‘ghost’ employees in the health department submitted by the committee.

“We made four categories - ghost employees, non-registered on our biometric system, duplicate entries on SAP which are getting double salary and transferred employees - who have gone to specialised healthcare or any other department and are still getting salaries from our department,” said Mr Usman.

He said of the total employees 213 were confirmed as ‘ghost’ staff during investigation while 1,312 others were those who were drawing salaries but were not on biometric set-up or other laid-down system.

“The detection of more than 1,500 ghost and other dubious employees would help the department save over Rs65 million,” he said.

The number of ghost employees may go much beyond 213 after completion of biometric verification which will save further Rs14m to the department and public exchequer, he added.

“We are going to expand scope of investigation to get back the money drawn by the employees identified by the committee,” he said.

To a question, he said, his department had a total of 124,902 employees working across Punjab with a salary expenditure of Rs29 billion per year.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2020