PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa establishment department has directed several departments to issue show causes notices to their 343 officers of BPS-17 and above to explain position for illegally receiving the Benazir Income Support Programme assistance meant for the poor people.

The directions were issued in a letter separately sent to the departments along with the list of the illegal BISP beneficiaries.

It said the conduct of those officers was ‘prejudicial to good order and service discipline and provides sufficient grounds for initiation of disciplinary proceedings against them’ under Rule 5(a) of the KP Government Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 2011.

The letter said the competent authority had decided that show cause notices be served on the accused in question in line with Rule 7 of the rules dispensing with the formal inquiry.

“The competent authority has further been pleased to direct that show cause notices in respect of officers of your department may be prepared and submitted to respective competent authorities and in case of officers of BPS-17 to the chief secretary and for BPS-18 and above to the chief minister KP,” it read.

Govt compiles list of 343 such officers of BPS-17 and above

The official documents show that 16 officers of BPS-17 directly received the BISP assistance, while 327 others in BPS-17, 18 and 19 got it through wives.

All 16 government officers, who directly received benefits, were senior employees of the education department, served as principals, headmasters, college teachers, and held managerial posts.

Among those, whose wives received the paltry cash handouts meant for the poor people, were two BPS-20 officers of the education department, 14 of BPS-19, 79 officers of BPS-18 and the rest of BPS-17.

Two such officers, one each from the police and education departments, had two wives each, who were also the illegal beneficiaries of the government assistance initiative.

Majority of the officers, whose wives’ names have appeared on the BISP beneficiary rolls, are working in the education department as principals, headmasters, college lecturers, as senior district staff members of the health department, section officers of the administrative departments, police department personnel, an employee of the anti-corruption establishment, and an employee of the Peshawar Museum.

On Jan 29, special adviser to the prime minister on accountability Shahzad Akbar had said the government had referred the cases of more than 2,000 officers to the Federal Investigation Agency for inquiry.

Saying the BISP assistance is meant for the deserving poor and destitute people, he had disclosed that the federal government had also written to all chief secretaries and the establishment division for taking departmental action against those officers and recovering the money illegally received by them.

Mr Akbar said the FIA would be asked to register criminal cases against those government officers and the people, who assisted them in withdrawing the BISP funds, as the expenditure was carried out from the federal budget.

In Dec last year, special assistant to the prime minister on social protection and poverty alleviationDr Sania Nishtar had announced that the forensic audit of the social safety net catering to women showed that 820,165 undeserving people got government assistance, so the government was removing them from the net.

The establishment secretary wasn’t available for comments on the matter.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2020