ISLAMABAD: An officer of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) has written a letter to the secretary health alleging that the chief executive officer of the organisation was running a Benami pharmaceutical company, which was a clear case of conflict of interest.

However, Drap CEO Asim Rauf said the officer was habitual of filing frivolous complaints and the authority had decided to take strict action against him.

Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) spokesman Sajid Shah said such allegations were levelled against most of the CEOs of Drap in the past but none of them could be proved.

In the letter, available with Dawn, Drap’s Deputy Director in Quetta Dr Mohammad Aleem Akhter claimed that the CEO had committed a number of irregularities since his appointment as the deputy drugs controller in BPS-18 in the year 2002.

Officer habitual of filing frivolous complaints and we have decided to take strict action against him, says CEO

Mr Akhter in his letter, copies of which have been sent to the prime minister and a number of state institutions, claimed that according to rules government officers cannot get study leave without completion of five years of service, but Mr Rauf just two years after his appointment in 2004 went to the USA on study leave (PhD) which was against the Civil Servant Study Rules 1996.

The letter claimed that the CEO returned in 2009 without completing his PhD degree despite getting all the perks and privileges for five years.

The Drap officer alleged that the CEO was running a pharmaceutical company (M/s Zeta Pharmaceuticals at Sundar Industrial Estate, Lahore), which triggered conflict of interest as per Section 18 of Drap Act 2012.

The documents attached with the letter claimed that Mr Rauf had established and owned the pharmaceutical company since October 16, 2010, (Benami transaction) firstly in the name of his brother Aamer Wali Rauf. He transferred the company from his brother’s name to his father-in-law Chauhdry Atiq Qamar on September 3, 2018.

The Drap officer attached copy of the partnership-deed of M/s Zeta Pharmaceuticals, Lahore, in which a death clause had been included which stated that in case of death of Chauhdry Qamar the property will be transferred in the name of Mr Rauf (the Drap chief). The officer claimed that it was a proof of Benami property.

Moreover, the letter claimed that there was another partner in the company namely Zahid Masood Nasir. But another death clause had been included in the agreement mentioning that in case of the death of the first partner (Zahid Masood Nasir) the property will be transferred in the name of the second partner who was father-in-law of the CEO chief.

The secretary health has been requested to initiate an inquiry into the the issue so that the chances of corruption and irregularities in Drap would be eradicated.

When contacted, the Drap chief told Dawn that the complainant was habitual of filing such applications as earlier he was in Quetta University and had filed similar applications against the management.

He said the same person had also filed an application against former Drap chief Dr Aslam Afghani.

“He has also filed applications against some other officers of Drap, including Dr Obaid. We have decided to take legal action against him as he levels allegations without any proof,” he said.

When asked about the allegations, Dr Rauf said all these were baseless.

Ministry of National Health Services (NHS)’s spokesman Sajid Shah said such allegations were levelled against most of the CEOs of Drap in the past but none of them could be proved.

He added: “Whenever we receive such letters and applications we request the applicant to prove his allegations. Same practice will be followed in this case. However, I believe that some of the elements within Drap and outside have been trying to pressure the CEOs. The ministry believes in transparency and has been making sure that there would be no violation of the rules in Drap,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2023

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