The Finance Department has written to the health secretary, asking him to hold an inquiry into the Jinnah Hospital pharmacy that is purchasing medicines in violation of the procurement rules and Finance Department’s instructions.
The letter, written in early March, says that the Jinnah Model Pharmacy – established in 2009 – is purchasing medicines worth millions from manufactures and distributors without adopting the procedure laid down in the Punjab Procurement Regulatory Authority Act, 2009.
Under the Act the hospital is required to advertise to invite tenders before purchasing any medicines.
No monthly expenditure report is being sent to the Treasury Officer for post audit process either, the letter points out. Also, the payment cheques being issued do not follow Finance Department directives. The department orders are that payments should be made through cross-cheques whereas the cheques being issued are ‘open’.
The letter requests that the health secretary probe the matter personally and ensure adherence of rules in procurement and purchase.
The Board of Management of Allama Iqbal Medical College approved the establishment of Jinnah Model Pharmacy in October 2009 on directions of the Health Department. It was given Rs100 million from public funds at the start. Its affairs are managed by a seven-member executive committee including the Allama Iqbal Medical College principal and Jinnah Hospital medical superintendent. The committee employed 41 employees to operate the pharmacy.
The irregularities were pointed out by a treasury officer, an official of the Finance Department told The Express Tribune.
Bilquis Aziz, the JMP chief operating officer, denied any irregularities in the purchase of medicines.
Ijazul Haq, the AIMC finance director, said the hospital was following all codal formalities under the procurement Act.
Javed Akram, the AIMC dean, confirmed that the Finance Department had written a letter pointing out the irregularities. He said that the bulk of medicines for the hospital are purchased under the PPRA rules, and the management is working on a system to ensure that purchase of medicines for the JMP, too, complies with the rules.
The health secretary could not be reached for a comment. A senior Health Department official told The Tribune that they had received the letter and were preparing to brief the chief minister about the matter “soon”.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2012.