‘VCs misused emergency powers’: ACE unearths major hiring scam in Punjab public sector varsities

Published January 1, 2021
The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) has detected over 4,500 illegal appointments in 12 public sector universities in Punjab made during the last 10 years. — Creative Commons/File
The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) has detected over 4,500 illegal appointments in 12 public sector universities in Punjab made during the last 10 years. — Creative Commons/File

LAHORE: The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) has detected over 4,500 illegal appointments in 12 public sector universities in Punjab made during the last 10 years or so and recommended to the governor/chancellor to take ‘strict legal action’ against those involved in this crime.

In a report submitted to the chancellor, the ACE declared 4,554 illegal appointments (from BPS-1 to 16, and BS-17 and above), saying these were made without advertising vacancies, against the rules and service laws with a financial impact of Rs6061 million.

Illegal appointments have been detected at the University of Sargodha (total 1,099 illegal appointments), University of Punjab Lahore (689), Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan (784), Government College University (GCU) Faisalabad (209), Government College Women University (GCWU) Faisalabad (540), Women University Multan (94), Government Sadiq College Women University Bahawalpur (50), Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi (524), Government College University Lahore (136), University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences UVAS Lahore (310), University of Engineering and Technology Lahore (15) and Khawaja Farred Engineering University Rahim Yar Khan (98 illegal appointments).

According to the report, the illegal appointments have been made in the tenures of University of Sargodha former VCs Prof Muhammad Akram Chaudhary, Prof Dr Muhammad Ali, Prof Dr M. Zahoorul Hassan Dogar and Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad; University of Punjab Lahore’s former VC Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran; Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan’s ex-VCs Dr Muhammad Zafarullah and Dr Tahir Amin; Government College University (GCU) Faisalabad’s former VCs Dr Shahid Mahmood Rana, Dr Zakir Hussain and Prof Dr Muhammad Ali; the Government College Women University (GCWU) Faisalabad’s former VCs Prof Dr Zakir Hussain, Prof Dr Naureen Aziz Qureshi, Dr Sofia Anwar and Prof Dr Robina Farooq; Women University Multan’s former VCs Dr Shahida Hussain and Prof Dr Talat Afza; Government Sadiq College Women University Bahawalpur’s former VCs Prof Dr Talat Afza and Prof Dr Muhammad Mukhtar; Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi’s former VCs Prof Dr Saeeda Asadullah Khan and Prof Dr Samina Amin Qadir; GCU Lahore’s former VCs Dr Khalid Aftab and Dr Khaleeq ur Rehman and Dr Hassan Amir Shah; University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences UVAS Lahore’s former VC Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz, Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha, and Prof Dr Muhammad Younus, principal, UVAS, Jhang campus; UET Lahore’s former VCs Lt-Gen (R) Muhammad AKram Khan and Prof Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid and Khawaja Fareed Engineering University Rahim Yar Khan’s former VC Pro Dr Ather Mahboob.

Says illegal recruitment of 4,554 people during last 10 years caused Rs6 billion loss

The ACE, in its findings, say: “The administration of 12 universities during the last 10 years or so made 4,554 illegal appointments which caused a loss of Rs6061m to public exchequer (Ad hoc/contractual/DPL and consequently most of them converted into regular appointments) by using authority beyond powers against the prescribed service law/rules/regulations and as such abused their position as a public servant by not advertising posts properly and without following other relevant approved procedures and this caused heavy loss to public exchequer for wrongful gain and committed criminal misconduct.”

ACE Director General Gohar Nafees recommended (to the chancellor) “strict action as per law against all those who abused their official positions”.

“A policy decision is required against all illegal appointments and recovery should be made from accused as per law. The emergency powers provided in the Act of all universities provisional /federal universities should be deleted forthwith to avoid the indiscriminate use of emergency powers which creates chaos in the universities. Need assessment should be made prior to advertisement of posts in national press by the competent authority viz syndicate for the post of 17 & above and vice chancellor for the post in Grade 1 to 16 through selection committee,” the ACE has recommended.

It says all powers under the universities acts revolve around the vice chancellors may be delegated to principal officers/deans/directors and others.

“The proposal submitted by the office of registrar to the vice chancellor should be made binding on the vice chancellor in the preview of prevailing laws. All the appointments regular/ad hoc/contractual/DPL or visiting must be advertised through two daily national newspapers and proper procedure must be adopted,” it suggests and says if there is no contractual policy exists in universities then Punjab Government Contractual Policy 2004 may be implemented and the chancellor office and Higher Education Department Punjab must ensure a transparent system for recruitments in all universities and enhance their vigilance.

Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2021

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