Comsats BoG brushes aside ‘corruption’ in NTS

Item has been removed from board’s agenda

Riazul Haq February 12, 2018
An accountability body in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on Friday decided to launch inquiries against security companies in the province along with probes against officials of several government departments. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Comsats Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) has brushed aside the alleged corruption found in the National Testing Service (NTS) despite persistent calls from parliament for an independent probe and investigations by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The issues revolving around the NTS and its alleged financial wrongdoing refuse to die down as the CIIT has put the matter on the back burner.

A meeting of the Board of Governors is going to be held on February 12 (today) and NTS affairs have been removed from the agenda as discussed in the previous meeting on November 27, 2017.

Sources privy to the development have confirmed that the matter is not on the agenda and it has been decided for now to avoid discussing it.

Minister resigns over ‘corruption’ in NTS, CIIT

“It is not on the agenda though it was mostly subject of the previous BoG,” said a senior official who had seen the agenda. He added that this showed that the top management of the institute wants to avoid a probe into the NTS affairs.

The meeting in November was chaired by the then Minister for Science and Technology Mir Dostain Khan Domki who had ordered a three-member committee to independently investigate the NTS. Domki ordered to probe the affairs of NTS in line with the special audit of the service by the auditor general in 2017.

However, Domki resigned the same day due to a tussle between him and the NTS, CIIT officials which had been brewing for quite some time. He announced his resignation, saying he felt like he was being “stonewalled by a mafia.”

Minister forms body to address NTS issues

The government later appointed Rana Tanveer as the Minister for Science and Technology even before Domki had resigned which he considered was the effort of the ‘mafia’ to circumvent action against NTS.

“I took important decisions in that meeting but no action has been taken by the ministry, as the previous BoD have ruined this institute with maladministration and the criminal act of delaying this report for the departmental audit committee,” Domki said in a letter he recently wrote to eight organisations and their heads about the NTS situation.

The letter has been forwarded to Senate chairman; National Assembly speaker; FBR chief, HEC and two standing committees of the ministry including the secretary. In his letter, the former minister had expressed serious reservations about Executive Director (ED) Junaid Zaidi chairing the meeting.

Zaidi has been a rector of the CIIT since 2002 till his appointment as the new ED. It is expected that the matter might be discussed by some members in the BoG meeting which has been talk of the town till lately.

On January 30 the National Assembly Standing Committee on Science and Technology expressed serious concerns over the misappropriations in NTS. It had also directed the ministry to hold an impartial inquiry to bring the culprits to book.

The committee also decided to hold a comprehensive briefing on the performance of the NTS in its next sitting and deferred the issue for further discussion.

Science and Technology minister’s resignation ‘is the tip of the iceberg’

NAB and FBR are also separately looking into the alleged money-laundering, tax evasion of Rs2 billion and financial irregularities pointed out by auditor general.

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