The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) has initiated an inquiry against three officials of Poultry Research Institute Rawalpindi (PRI) for alleged financial mismanagement in the provision of 100,000 chickens to the victims of the 2005 earthquake.
The directorate of ACE in Rawalpindi has asked for permission from Director General ACE Punjab to register criminal cases against former director PRI, former assistant director PRI and a former office superintendent after the preliminary inquiry found some financial irregularities committed, said an official source in the ACE office.
On the other hand, the accused officers Shamasul Hussan, ex-director, Dr Sohail Hassan Khan, ex-assistant director, and Muhammad Javed, superintendent, moved the Lahore High Court (LHC) alleging they were being harassed by the ACE officers on the pretext of the inquiry.
Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh of the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench disposed off their petition after directing ACE to refrain from harassing them until final conclusion of the inquiry was reached, Advocate Syed Aqeel Abbas Kazmi representing the PRI officials told this reporter.
“We initiated the preliminary inquiry against the PRI officials on the complaint of DG PRI Lahore and the matter has been sent to DG ACE for approval of the registration of a criminal case against them,” said Muhammad Ibrahim Junaid, deputy director Investigations ACE Rawalpindi.
He said LHC disposed off the petition of the PRI officials after they informed the court that the inquiry was pending. The matter has been referred to higher authorities as the accused officials belong to grade-17 and above.
The petitioners, before the high court, denied all allegations of committing any mismanagement and corruption and said the chickens were purchased from a private firm after the government poultry farms could not meet the demand made by Food and Agriculture Department of UN.
The petitioners said the relevant rules allowed them to purchase the chickens from the private sector and all transactions were made through PRI official accounts.
They further contended that no complaint was made by the FAO or any responsible authority against them for financial mismanagement.
They asked the court to direct the ACE officers not harass them by calling them time and again in their office.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2011.