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Minister irked by theft of equipment

October 07, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Oct 6: A stir has been caused in the Ministry of Climate Change after its minister Rana Mohammad Farooq Saeed Khan found out most of the hardware/equipment had gone missing right under his nose.

It shocked and angered him more when none of his senior officials was able to give him straight answers.

“How did computers and printers walk out of the ministry on their own,” said Mr who has given his officers a week to hold an inquiry and find the answers.

Most senior officers expressed ignorance or something they had over the grapevine. The director general of the ministry’s environment wing, Javed Ali Khan, said he was also unaware of the equipment stolen from the ministry.

“I haven’t heard of things going missing. I’m only responsible for my department,” said the DG. However, his staff said the DG himself had lost two laptops. According to sources in the ministry, desktops, entire multi-media kits, printers, scanners, television sets, spares and even kettles and plumbing materials in the washrooms had gone missing – almost all office equipment.

“All that is left behind are empty boxes,” said a senior official who explained that the office equipment started going missing soon after the old ministry of environment was devolved in 2010.

And it was not just hardware that had been stolen. According to senior officials, there was definite possibility that crucial data stored in the computers were also lost.

“We have not been able to trace/find records of agreements and commitments, both national and international, worth billions of dollars. There are no records of loans, tenders, expenses and claims, stipends, utility bills and day-to-day expenditures, deputation allowances or salaries,” said the official requesting anonymity.

Without the records of financial transactions among other documents, he did not rule out embezzlement of funds.

“It will not be surprising if there is no backup available. They can put down any figure for expenses,” said the official, adding more answers would be available after a week. Some officials had to face the wrath of the minister for ignorance.

“The first information report (FIR) has been registered with the Secretariat police. We will soon find out what went wrong,” said the minister.