KARACHI: Sindh government handed over documents on Tuesday to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Abdul Sattar Jatoi, the administration director of Liaquat University Hospital (LUH), after approval from the chief minister.
The NAB has initiated investigation against Jatoi for allegedly embezzling millions of rupees, engaging in nepotism and abusing his powers. In a letter to the Sindh health secretary the NAB had demanded Jatoi's personal file, information on his salary account, employment record and departmental inquires against him in the past. The letter further demands that the provincial government furnish any other pertinent information relating to the director, who led the accounts and planning department of the hospital.
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A fact-finding committee, headed by LUH Neurosurgery Department Chairperson Dr Riaz Ahmed Raja and comprising LUH Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr Mubin Ahmed Memon and AMS Dr Naeem Zia Memon, after its inquiry unanimously dismissed the allegations against Jatoi. An earlier committee headed by AMS General Dr Naeem Zia Memon, while expressing no-confidence in Jatoi, had requested the formation of a new committee. Jatoi was accused of illegally establishing the post of administration, accounts and planning director and opening several bank accounts. He is also accused of buying several illegal properties, misusing government vehicles as well as having connections with a political party. He was also accused of being in contact with the Afghan Taliban, for whom he also visited Afghanistan. He is also accused of having connection with the activities of Ghulam Nabi Buledi, an employee of the provincial education department who served as his front man for illegal activities.
Jatoi is also accused of awarding tenders for development works at the hospital to his brother. He awarded the tender for the appointment of security guards and made illegal receipts from the X-ray and pathology department of the hospital. Jatoi is also accused of corruption in the installation of the bio-metric system.
Jatoi, on the other hand, while rejecting all allegations has said that the accusations reflect a well-planned conspiracy against him. According to documents, the earlier committee headed by Dr Naeem Zia Memon had expressed lack of confidence with Abdul Sattar Jatoi and requested the formation of a new committee. According to sources, it appears that the request for the formation of the new committee was actually made by Jatoi himself when he had developed fears of the inquiry against himself. The new committee cleared him of all allegations.
In a written response against the allegations, Jatoi has maintained that the allegation of illegally establishing the post of administration, accounts and planning director was unjust as the complainant was unaware of the rules and regulations. It is not wrong to allot powers of Drawing and Disbursing Office (DDO) to someone else, he said, as it is a common practice in all departments. A DDO awards his powers to a junior officer so that departmental activities see no delays or interruptions, the response read.
The response further maintained that the inquiry report has misreported the use of government vehicles and the purchases of properties. Jatoi maintained that the vehicle he is using was entitled to him as a grade-20 officer while the allegation of using government vehicle bearing number GS638 was baseless. He further states in his reply that being a senior government officer, while he has respect for all political parties, he does not have affiliations with any political party.
Jatoi maintained that one of his brothers had gone to Afghanistan to meet a friend in 1997 where he was kidnapped and murdered. At that time, security forces helped him bring the body of his deceased brother home. The incident took place before 9/11.
He also said the accuser had not provided the basis for the allegation regarding Buledi being his front man. Jatoi declared that the allegation of multiple bank accounts was ridiculous and said that the allegations were all staged and planned. To support his arguments, he submitted a few documents to the fact-finding committee. The documents were also made part of the inquiry.
According to sources, the health department, in its summary to the CM, claimed that Jatoi had cleared himself of all allegations after illegally setting up a committee. While censuring the measure, the CM has directed the health department to reject the recommendations of the committee and launch an investigation against the officers involved.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2019.
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