DC Seeks ACE Probe Into Embezzlement Of DGPR Advertisement Payment

Dawn

SAHIWAL: Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Zaman Wattoo has written a letter to the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), Lahore, director general (DG) seeking an investigation into alleged fraud and embezzlement of funds meant to be deposited with the accounts of the Director General Public Relations (DGPR), Lahore.

Some months back, a citizen, Muhammad Ali Bukhari, lodged a complaint and demanded an inquiry into a cheque (No F-380422) worth Rs342,043, dated Sept 11, 2018, issued by the executive engineer, Highways Division, Sahiwal.

The Highways Circle, Sahiwal, had issued the cheque as payment to the DGPR, Lahore, for an advertisement appeared in one of the national newspapers. The complainant said the cheque was not deposited with the DGPR official account in Lahore but was rather deposited with another account in a branch of a private bank in Harappa city.

An inquiry was launched and superintending engineer (SE), Highways Circle, Sahiwal wrote a letter to the Accountant General, Account Works, Punjab, as well as the DGPR to know where the cheque was deposited and whether money had been withdrawn.

Through the probe, it transpired that the cheque was not deposited with the official account of the DGPR, Lahore, but with an account in a private bank and cash had been transferred and withdrawn. It gave the number of the account too.

Sub-Divisional Officer Highways, Chichawatni, Muhammad Saeed Siyal was heading the inquiry whose report is available with Dawn. It looked into the matter and wrote letters to the DGPR and AG offices as well as banks and got replies.

Replying to the letter, the DGPR office wrote back to him. Quoting a deputy director DG Accounts Works, it said the cheque was issued by the Sahiwal Highways Division EXEN in favour of the DGPR but through an employee of the Highways Division and it was fraudulently deposited with the bank account of another person, instead of the DGPR account.

“On scrutiny of the DGPR record, it is found that the receipt No. 12753 is fake as it was already issued on 13-09-2018,” it further said.

The inquiry proved the cheque was deposited with the account of a local journalist, Mahmood Khalid Chaudhry, publisher of Daily Sada-i-Dastoor, in Harappa branch of the private bank.

It also revealed that highways department’s junior clerk Mahfooz Ali was involved in the scam. The inquiry report sought action against them.

It is in this background, the Sahiwal DC wrote a letter, dated July 13, 2019, to the Anti-Corruption Establishment DG alleging that Khalid Mahmood Chaudhry had been running many fake accounts in the district and elsewhere and the matter required an inquiry by the ACE.

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