NAB arrests Sargodha University’s ex-VC, registrar for illegal campuses

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau on Monday arrested former vice-chancellor of Sargodha University Dr Muhammad Akram Chaudhry and varsity’s former registrar Brigadier ® Rao Jamil Asghar accused of receiving millions as bribe for allowing establishing illegal sub-campuses under public private partnership policy and jeopardising future of thousands of students, The News has learnt.
The bureau in this scam has also arrested CEO Lahore sub-campus Mian Javed, Director Administration Lahore sub-campus Muhammad Akram, CEO, Mandi Bahauddin sub-campus Waris Nadeem and his partner Naeem Mukhtar. It has learnt that the accused received millions as bribe for allowing third parties to establish illegal sub-campuses.
The sub-campuses enrolled thousands of students, received hefty fees and jeopardised future of students due to illegality of sub-campuses.
The NAB will present the accused for remand on Tuesday (today) before the NAB court. The arrest was made by the NAB to complete its inquiry as per the directions given by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Saturday while hearing a suo motu case on a petition of the students of private campuses of the university at the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry. It is pertinent to mention that the chief justice had also directed the DG NAB Lahore Saleem Shahzad to hear to the Vice- Chancellor Sargodha University Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad who had put his job at stake by exposing the sub-campuses scam involving influential people and to complete probe into the issues of the sub-campuses of the Sargodha University within a week and submit its report.
The NAB has summoned former VC Sargodha University, former registrar, and CEOs of the two sub-campuses to record their statement in connection with the private sub-campuses scam while the Sargodha University VC Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad and Registrar University Fahad Ullah also recorded their statements. The accused were arrested by the NAB inside its Lahore office in the light of proofs presented by the university administration.
Earlier, an audit report of Higher Education Commission had revealed that five sub-campuses were established in total violation of Public Private Partnership Policy while Lahore and Mandi Bahauddin campus was established by then VC Dr Akram using emergency powers vested in him U/S 13(3) of the University of Sargodha Ordinance, 2002, in total violation of Public Private Partnership Policy and even without obtaining the necessary approval from the syndicate and relevant bodies.
Among its most revealing findings is the scale of corruption involving affiliated colleges and private campuses, which have sold degrees for cheap to thousands of students over a span of several years.
Earlier, in February 2018, the National Accountability Bureau in its executive board meeting presided over by NAB Chairman Justice (R) Javed Iqbal, had ordered an inquiry into serious irregularities and financial corruption on the direction of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Higher Education against former VC University of Sargodha, Chaudhry Akram and other staffers. The issue surfaced after Sargodha University VC Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad highlighted the unlawful constitution of the five sub-campuses, including at Lahore and Mandi Bahauddin before the court. The private campuses had been turned into money-making machines, cheating the poor and lower middle-class parents and playing with the future of youths, explained the VC, adding that the Public-Private Partnership Policy was prepared in a haphazard manner without safeguarding the interest of a public sector university and completion of legal obligations.
It may be added that the University Syndicate barred these five sub-campuses from new admissions on academic irregularities, mismanagement and failure to abide by the mandatory standards set by the HEC while the degree issuance process has been started by the university in order to facilitate and secure the academic future of the sub-campuses students.
It is pertinent to mention that on September 25, hundreds of students of Sargodha University held a sit-in on the issue of their degrees at the Canal Road Underpass. The students were of the view that they had not been awarded degrees even after all their dues were cleared. They said that they cannot avail jobs or get admission for further studies until they will be given degrees. After their protest the apex court had taken a suo motu notice.

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