Olive project: PARC fails to suspend accused project director

Shifts him to important slot in another department

Peer Muhammad April 27, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (Parc) has ignored the recommendation of a special committee of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Food Security and Research for suspending the director of Pakistan Olive Project, who was allegedly involved in irregularities in the import of olive plants.

According to sources, the two-member special committee, headed by MNA Rao Muhammad Ajmal, had asked Parc’s top management to suspend olive project director Muhammad Nasir Cheema in the wake of accusation of misconduct.

In a meeting on April 14, the sub-committee observed that the project director had failed to answer questions and had been involved in the approval process for the import of olive plants, which were found to be infected.

However, instead of suspending the project director, the Parc management shifted him to an important post in another department.

“Parc chairman first suspended the officer soon after the sub-committee meeting but in the evening the suspension order was taken back and he was transferred to another department,” a source said.

The Pakistan Olive Project worth Rs2.4 billion was part of the annual Public Sector Development Programme of the government.

The special committee, which was tasked with initiating a probe into the project, took serious notice of the approval given by the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) for the import of 60,000 infected olive plants without examining samples and a laboratory report.

The plants were imported by RSS company in November last year and payment was made last month after clearance report of the DPP. “It is very unfortunate that officials are not taking the parliamentary body seriously and are continuously ignoring its decisions,” MNA Salman Baloch commented. Parc spokesperson Sardar Mustafa did not comment on the development.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2016.

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