MULTAN: Held guilty twice in an embezzlement case by the Anti-Corruption Establishment during the last couple of years, a doctor of the health department has now won reprieve, thanks to ACE’s Dera Ghazi Khan circle.

Following this development, the ACE director general who will now decide the fate of the case has sought a report from his director legal. The complainant has meanwhile requested the ACE DG to transfer the case to some other region as local officials were favouring the accused.

According to complainant Muhammad Sarfraz, a resident of Muzaffargarh, Dr Ashiq Hussain Malik (former MS of Muzaffargarh DHQ and Nishtar hospitals), former MS of Muzaffargarh DHQ Dr Muhammad Rashid and accountant Maher Abdul Rasheed had embezzled Rs14.9 million through bogus bills during 2011 and 2013. He lodged an FIR on Sept 4, 2018 , with the ACE’s Muzaffargarh circle.

Former Nishtar MS paid Rs14.9m to fake firms

The complainant alleged that medicines were purchased from M/S Impex Private Limited despite the fact that the licence of the firm had not been renewed after its expiry on Aug 9, 2009.

He stated that the firm was only a distribution company but Dr Malik and Dr Rashid used a fake licence to show it a pharmacy. The firm owner, Muhammad Alam Khan, in his affidavit to the ACE stated that no amount was transferred to the firm’a account.

The complainant said according to a report of the drug branch of the health department issued on Feb 13, 2017, no firm titled Roha Pharmacy existed while, according to hospital record, more than Rs14.8 million were paid to this pharmacy.

He stated that Dr Malik ordered an inquiry against senior clerk/accountant Mahar Abdul Rashid Sial under his own supervision and got him exonerated through the inquiry officer.

The complainant attached copies of bogus record, including bills and expense book of the tenure of both the officers.

On Sept 30, 2019 the accused were declared guilty by ACE Deputy Director Muhammad Zubair who recommended judicial action against them. The DG granted approval the same day .

On Oct 4, 2019, the special judge anti-corruption rejected the bail application of the accused.

On Oct 30, 2020, a joint investigation team again declared the accused guilty over which the ACE legal branch raised some objections and sent the case back to the ACE DG Khan.

Dr Malik withdrew his bail petition last week (Feb 18) from the Lahore High Court’s Multan bench when the law officers informed the court that the DG Khan circle had declared the accused innocent.

At this the complainant requested the ACE DG to transfer the case to some other region.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2021

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