Drap CEO asked to explain ‘misuse of power’

Published August 1, 2023
This image shows Drap CEO Dr Asim Rauf. — Photo courtesy: Drap website
This image shows Drap CEO Dr Asim Rauf. — Photo courtesy: Drap website

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has sought an explanation from the Drug Regulatory Authority (Drap) chief executive officer (CEO) over misuse of power, conflict of interest, and other irregularities.

According to an explanation letter available with Dawn, the ministry has taken serious cognisance over reported and significant violations of rules, regulations and SOPs as being gross violations, irregularities, misconduct, misuse of authority and conflict of interest on CEO Dr Asim Rauf’s part.

It stated that authority was being misused and modus operandi for disposal of pending cases was dormant for ulterior motives.

“Serious issues of utmost importance and public exigency are found to be unattended and awaiting decisions. That you have been found manipulating and managing the HRM [human resources management] of the Drap personnel (civil/Drap employees) and financial records at your willful desire. That facts are being manipulated for attaining the promotion to a higher grade in sheer violation of Civil Servant Rules,” the letter stated.

“That you were being found engaged in conflict of interest with the ministry and financial rules thereof. That multiple charges/assignments were officiated simultaneously that created conflict of interest,” it stated.

FIA sends questionnaire to regulatory authority’s chief over ‘benami’ pharma company

Dr Asim Rauf has been directed to explain his position within three days of receipt of the explanation, failing which disciplinary action will be initiated under relevant rules governing Drap under the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan Act 2012.

In another development, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) also sent a questionnaire having 24 queries to the Drap chief. In the questionnaire, the FIA asked whether Mr Rauf had qualified mid-career management course (MCMC) before getting a promotion and under which law staff of Drap was getting extra salaries (which is only applicable to officials directly working in hospitals).

The FIA also demanded attested copies of the CEO’s degrees. It also asked whether the CEO was a Canadian national. The FIA also demanded details of M/S Zeta Pharma.

It is noted that last month an officer of Drap had written a letter to the health secretary alleging that the CEO was running a ‘benami’ pharmaceutical company, which was a clear case of conflict of interest. In the letter, available with Dawn, Drap’s Deputy Director in Quetta Dr Mohammad Aleem Akhter had claimed that the CEO had committed a number of irregularities since his appointment as the deputy drugs controller in BPS-18 in 2002.

Mr Akhter claimed that according to rules government officers were not allowed to 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 a 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 the Drap Act 2012.

The documents attached with the letter claimed that Mr Rauf had established and owned the pharmaceutical company since October 16, 2010, 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 a copy of the partnership deed of M/s Zeta Pharmaceuticals, Lahore, in which a death clause had been inserted which stated that in case of the death of Chauhdry Qamar, the property would be transferred in the name of the Drap chief. The officer claimed that it was proof of the 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 would be transferred in the name of the second partner who was the father-in-law of the Drap chief.

However, Drap CEO Asim Rauf, while talking to Dawn, had said the officer was a habitual complainant and had a history of filing ‘frivolous’ campaigns. The authority had decided to take strict action against him, he added.

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

Published in Dawn, Aug 1st, 2023

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