PESHAWAR: Governor Shah Farman’s refusal to accept Rs130 million as his discretionary funds, and that too unaudited, apparently prompted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to celebrate the International Anti-Corruption Day at the Governor’s House on Monday where its regional chief said that corruption has penetrated into the educational institutions, including universities.
Prime Minister Imran Khan recently praised Shah Farman at a well-attended function in Islamabad in connection with 100 days performance of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for saving Rs130 million. He had directed other members of his government to follow the austerity policy of the government.
It was apparently the first time that NAB organised an awareness seminar at the Governor’s House that it commemorates every year on the International Anti-Corruption Day.
Peshawar High Court’s former chief justice Fasihul Mulk, Council of Islamic Ideology Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz and prominent actress-turned social worker and researcher Dr Faryal Ali Gohar spoke about corruption and its losses to the people and the state institutions.
NAB Director General Farmanullah Khan said that Governor Shah Farman first returned his discretionary funds of Rs110 million and then refused to spend the remaining Rs20 million.
Speaking on the occasion, Shah Farman said that by refusing the Rs130 million he had not done any favour to anyone. “Being custodian of the constitution and a founding PTI member, I have learnt during my long career that I would never misuse my office,” he added.
“This was the basic purpose of my life when we formed PTI in 1996. I remained a minister heading three different ministries in the previous PTI government and all the three secretaries I have worked with are sitting here. Today I feel proud to speak against corruption in front of them as I never issued them any unlawful directives or committed corruption,” Shah Farman told the seminar.
He lamented that corruption has been causing a huge loss to the state institutions. He said the society was polarized and now wealth was being considered a symbol of respect.
“Instead of speaking in English to impress you, let me tell you the facts. Believe me, if all the people sitting in this hall become honest, I am sure it will eradicate 60 percent of corruption,” remarked Governor Shah Farman.
He said when he first became a minister people would come to him and offer their services in facilitating him in corruption.
“One day an official told me that the patwaris wanted to pay expenses of your hujra and one patwari will pay Rs100,000 a month. And there were 13 patwaris. I could have easily earned Rs1.03 million per month but I said no.” the governor recalled.
About the Rs130 million, he said some young people of erstwhile Fata had come to him and urged him to stop distributing the funds among the tribal elders as it was neither in the interest of tribal areas nor tribespeople.
Shah Farman said he was surprised and shocked when he came to know that people were paying a heavy amount to become chairmen of the education boards.
“I learnt that they used to make money by selling examination halls to certain schools and colleges. A student who couldn’t pass the exam used to get A-plus in results because of corruption,” Shah Farman said.
He stressed the need for self-accountability instead of looking to the NAB and Anti-Corruption Establishment to deter corruption.
NAB Director General Farmanullah Khan that they received 46,000 complaints and conducted 1,800 inquiries and 740 investigations, showing 70 percent conviction since NAB’s inception.
He said governance and corruption were interrelated and interconnected and directly affecting each other.
He said NAB has filed 520 references against people involved in corrupt practices in both the public and private sectors and successfully defended the references in the accountability courts as its conviction rate remained 70 percent.
He said NAB has recovered more than Rs297 billion. He pointed out that the Transparency International in its recent 2017 survey acknowledged that Pakistan scored 32 percent compared to 22 percent in 1995.
“Moreover, survey reports conducted by Gallup Pakistan showed 59 percent public confidence in NAB,” he said.
He added that the World Economic Forum also lauded the efforts of NAB.The NAB DG said he was delighted to see the vice-chancellors and the senior officers of higher education making this event memorable as they have an effective role in eradicating corruption from society by educating the young people.
Pointing out that corruption has penetrated into the universities, he urged the governor to play his role as the chancellor of the universities to curb corrupt practices.