Millions of rupees lost in Gomal varsity fee scam

Dawn

PESHAWAR: The cash-starved Gomal University Dera Ismail Khan has been deprived of several millions of rupees of fees through fake bank receipts, according to sources.

A preliminary inquiry, conducted by the university administration, found that Rs7.8 million was collected in lieu of students’ fee but the amount was never deposited in its bank account, a senior official of Gomal University told Dawn.

He claimed that the misappropriated amount of Rs7.8 million was just tip of an iceberg as the embezzled sum was fee of a single semester of three departments of the university.

“We are conducting a high level inquiry in the light of the findings of the initial probe and the embezzled sum is likely to manifold higher than the detected one,” said the official.

He said that the high level inquiry would scrutinise financial matters of all departments of the university going back to five years. Its initial findings showed that the misappropriated amount was very high, he added.

VC says five-member panel probing embezzlement through fake bank receipts

The initial inquiry, a copy of which is available with Dawn, showed that the two-member committee randomly checked the fee records of faculties of pharmacy, veterinary and animal sciences and law and found that there was no proper record of deposited semester fees in majority of the departments. It said that the private bank in Dera Ismail Khan was using different stamps for fee deposit slips without date.

The inquiry committee has recommended that all the departments, hostels, examination sections, provost section may be directed to verify the record of dues both semester fee and exam fee deposited by the students for the last three years with effect from March 2018 through online portal and submit the report to the competent authority within two months.

It said that all the departments, hostels, examination section and provost section might be directed that in future the record of dues deposited by the students would be verified through online portal twice in a year, June and December, and the report of the same would be submitted to finance directorate.

The inquiry committee has also recommended to the university that heads of all the departments and sections may be directed to intimate their clerical staff to strictly maintain the record of semester examination dues of students including those, who appear in more than two probation papers. A student appearing in more two papers will have to deposit the whole semester fee.

It said that all the officials concerned should also be directed to intimate their clerical staff strictly that from June 7, 2021 and onward, accept only computerised slip from students and the amount should written in both words and figure on the slips. The clerical staff should be responsible if the amount is not written in words on the slip is filled through handwriting.

The committee said that the departments, hostels, examination section, provost section might also be directed that in future only slips generated through online system should be issued to students for depositing dues and handwritten slips and amount without words might not be entertained.

The probe body has also suggested that competent authority may recommend an impartial joint investigation team comprising of intelligence agencies to probe the matter of fake stamps and forged slips and investigate all the students, university employees and bank officials, who were found guilty of tampering with the slips and receipts.

The vice-chancellor of Agriculture University Dera Ismail Khan, Prof Masroor Elahi Babar, who also holds the additional charge of Gomal University, when contacted, confirmed embezzlement of fees.

“When I noticed some doubts in the students’ fee, I ordered a two-member probe committee, which detected many cases of embezzlement in the fee,” he said.

He said that he placed the initial inquiry before the syndicate of the university, which approved formation of a five-member inquiry committee to further probe the issue.

The vice-chancellor said that probe was in progress and the committee would complete its report soon. The report would be presented to syndicate as it was the proper forum to decide the issue, he added.

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