Rs120m Graft Scam: DC Orders Sealing Of Hospital’s Procurement Office

Dawn

BAHAWALNAGAR: The deputy commissioner on Monday ordered sealing of procurement office of the Bahawalnagar District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital, initiating an inquiry into alleged misappropriation of Rs120 million in records of the contracts.

According to hospital sources, tenders worth Rs120m were opened for bidding on Sept 6, 7, 9 and 12. They said that as per Provincial Procurement Regulatory Authority rules, the technical committee should receive sealed technical and financial bids for all contracts.

However, the sources said, procurement officer Ghazanfar Ali, in connivance with the help of hospital management had allegedly took the technical and financial bids of all vendors in his possession to favour some vendors.

The sources further said the the procurement officer allegedly went to the house of a vendor on Sunday with tender files to make changes in the tender documents.

On getting a tip-off about the changes made in the documents, Bahawalnagar AC Muhammad Yousaf, on the orders of deputy commissioner constituted a three member committee comprising Naib Tehsildar Naveed Bukhari, Health CEO Dr Waseem and District Officer (Health) Dr Waheed Afsar Bajwa to probe into the matter. The team was ordered to present an initial report.

The team then contacted the procurement office on phone and asked him to come to the office and show them the record. The officer told the team that he was out of station. He also denied the claim that tender record was not in the office.

At this, the health CEO sealed the office for the night so that the record could be checked in the presence of the procurement officer on Monday morning.

The team opened the office seal on Monday morning and on checking the record found that the technical bids and other relevant record was missing. The team only found open financial bids without the signatures of any committee member.

Ghazanfar Ali told the inquiry team that the technical bids were in his other office in the establishment branch at the desk of computer operator Rizwan Noor. The team asked him why he did not mention the other office last night so that it could also be sealed. The procurement officer failed to satisfy the team in this regard.

On the condition of anonymity, some DHQ officials told Dawn that after the office was sealed by the team, the procurement officer, in connivance with the medical superintendent, placed the technical bids in the office of the computer operator in the wee hours of Monday to save his skin.

According to sources, the medical superintendent, in a written statement, told the team that the procurement officer had not handed over the technical bids to the technical committee. He, however, did not explain why the financial bids, which were supposed to be in his possession, were found in the procurement office.

Neither the MS, nor the health authority CEO and district health officer replied to the phone calls and messages sent to them for their versions.

Sources alleged the hospital management was also involved in emblazonment of maintenance and repair funds etc.

The former MS, doctors, surgeons, pharmacists and accountants of the DHQ hospital were facing an Anti-Corruption Establishment probe into alleged Rs400 million fraud involving fake medical companies bills, over purchase, fake billing and graft in repairs and maintenance funds.

The inquiry was in its final stages and a contractor, Rizwan and accountant Saeed had been arrested by the ACE.

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