Fighting graft: K-P Ehtesab Commission submits response to a nasty letter

KPEC commissioner had alleged gross irregularities in the anti-corruption institution


Sohail Khattak April 04, 2018
PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: A tug of war is going on between the office of the directorate general and the commissioners of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission (KPEC).

Both organs of the accountability body were present their justifications in response to allegations they had levelled against each other.

Recently, KPEC Commissioner Syda Sarawat Jehan wrote a letter to Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, PTI chief Imran Khan and K-P chief secretary. “KPEC is on ventilator and needs complete surgery,” Jehan stated in her letter against the PTI flagship institution in the province.

Caught in the act: K-P to fight corruption with Ehtesab courts

The KPEC directorate general has submitted its detailed reply (a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune) to the allegations of the letter rejecting majority of points raised.

Jehan complains about abolition of the commission’s (comprising five commissioners including her) overseeing role in KPEC. The directorate replies that the overseeing function of the commission under the Act was subject to non-interference in the day to day matters of the directorate general which is independent in its operational matters.

It adds that Jehan has misinterpreted the overseeing functions of the commission given in the law and from the very beginning the commissioners have crossed their legal parameters which resulted into a conflicting situation between the commissioners and the former DG of the Lt Gen (retd) Muhammad Hamid Khan and he had cited it the main reason of his resignation. “The directorate general has always sought the legally required approvals from the commissioners and acted upon the same, however, interference in investigation, operational and administrative matters under the garb of advice beyond their legal parameters are not being accepted,” the letter states.

Then, she criticised the directorate general’s role in resisting to cooperate with Internal Monitoring and Public Complaints (IMPC) Wing of the KPEC for the HR review which got delayed as record of the employees recruited was delayed by the directorate and then the DG did not take action against those employees who were appointed illegally with tempered and fake documents. The directorate in reply rejects the allegations saying that it provided all the available record on bases of which several reviews were conducted in a period of one year and the directorate shared its observations with the commissioners over the HR Review Report calling it presumptions, conjectures and surmises. In the 10th Performance Meeting of KPEC the commissioners themselves recorded that 95% of the HR Review Report consisted of general observations which should be taken as guidelines for future employment in KPEC. It also rejects that there were any fake certificate or degrees submitted by the employees and adds that all the wings of the directorate general expressed their satisfaction over the employees appointed.

Jehan has also criticised the performance of the KPEC in three years to which the directorate has presented its achievements as compared to other sister organisation like NAB and Anti-Corruption Establishment in K-P despite its insufficient HR strength. KPEC has instituted 29 references in Ehtesab Courts involving an embezzled amount of 3.7 Billion rupees and 113 accused persons. It has saved Rs2.6 billion to the provincial exchequer through interventions in ongoing schemes without filling any references in courts. It received 2740 complaints, 49 are under inquiry, 29 under investigation and 506 are under verification. “So far Rs660 million has been spent on KPEC and it includes everything from salaries to fuel and we have saved Rs2.6 billion to the government through interventions as we do not have plea-bargain in the law and references involving more than Rs3 billion are in courts,” said a senior official of the directorate.

K-P govt grilled over Ehtesab chief

Jehan has objected on the slot of DG of the directorate on which Brig (Retd) Muhammad Sajjad on acting charge bases since February 10, 2016 when the then DG Hamid Khan resigned. She has presented the K-P Law department opinion which states that the post of the DG stands vacant. The directorate states that the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner appointed Brig (Retd) Sajjad as acting DG in 2016 when it got vacant as per law until the appointment of regular DG.

While the regular DG appointment process was started by the Search and Scrutiny Committee twice but could not be completed and currently the appointment is still awaited.

It cites the section Section-12(10) of KPEC Act which states that the Acting Director General already designated before coming enforce of this act, shall be deemed to have been validly designated under this Act, with effect from date of his so designated till the appointment of a regular Director General under this act. It adds that the law department opinion is in utter disregard to the above mentioned section of the law. Furthermore, it says that the directorate also took the advice of the K-P Advocate General’s views and his opinion was in disregard to that the law department’s opinion.

It also rejects a point raised by Jehan towards removal of Brig (Retd) Tariq Hussain Khan who was director IM&PC through an amendment in the KPEC Act, saying that the act is amended by the K-P assembly and government. Moreover, Tariq completed his term and was not removed by the directorate. It adds that the commissioners appointed him and at that the appointment of Director IM&PC powers were with them. It further adds that Tariq had submitted an application for the post a few days ahead of the advertisement of the post and he had no relevant experience to head the wing.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2018.

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