No Action Yet On Recommendations Of Probe Into Rs120m DHQ Hospital Scam

Dawn

BAHAWALNAGAR: The authorities concerned have yet to take any action against the officials involved in Rs120 million irregularities found in the record of contracts at the district headquarters hospital (DHQ) despite a report of an inquiry ordered into the matter by the deputy commissioner recommended punishment for them under the PEEDA Act.

On Sept 15, 2019, the procurement office of the Bahawalnagar DHQ hospital was sealed on the orders of DC Shoaib Khan Judoon and an inquiry into the matter was ordered after Rs120m irregularities were traced in the documents of various contracts awarded by its administration. District Health Officer (DHO) Waheed Afsar Bajwa was appointed inquiry officer.

The hospital’s medical superintendent (MS), who is also chairman of the purchase committee, in a report had also confirmed irregularities committed by the procurement officer, besides tempering with the record of the contracts.

However, the DHO in his report submitted to the Health CEO Dr Waseem said Procurement Officer Ghazanfar Ali failed to hand over documents of bids to the technical committee by September 12.

The DHO also said in the report that during the inquiry, technical bids, challans, minutes of meetings, lab items and cycle stand auction documents were not found in the office of the procurement officer.

The report says the financial bids, which were supposed to be at the MS office as per rules, were found lying unsealed in the hospital’s administration office.

The report also mentions that Rs54,000 tenders fee was also not submitted to the bank.

In his report, the DHO held the MS and the admin office responsible for the irregularities.

He recommended action against MS Dr Inam Khilji, Deputy DHO Dr Khalid Javaid and MO Dr Jameel Shah under the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline & Accountability (Peeda) Act.

The report further recommended that Procurement Officer Ghazanfar Ali, Finance and Budget Officer Muhammad Ahmed, Logistics Officer Arsalan Aslam, Pharmacist Inam Bashir and Admin Officer Umar Farooq should immediately be sacked for being involved in the matter.

However, despite the passage of several days, the health CEO had not taken any action on the DHO’s recommendations.

On the condition of anonymity, some health department officials said the DHQ hospital management was trying to save the officials involved in the matter. They said that was the reason that the DHO’s report was being withheld by the health CEO and was not submitted to the DC office yet.

They also alleged that the DHO was being pressurised to change the report in favour of those he held guilty.

On the other hand, Health CEO Dr Waseem claimed the matter was “not that serious” and there were irregularities only in documents.

He said the tenders would be nullified and new tenders would be issued to ensure transparency in the matter.

To a question about any action to be taken on the DHO’s report, he said the DC was the relevant person to answer it as he had ordered the probe into the matter.

Deputy Commissioner Shoib Khan Judoon was not available for his comment.

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