Opposition demands probe into embezzlement in EEF

Information minister says PTI govt believes in merit, transparency

Shahid Hamid April 13, 2019

PESHAWAR: Opposition benches on Friday protested in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly over the non-issuance of development funds.

The opposition also demanded the speaker to form a House Committee to investigate why Elementary Education Foundation (EEF) MD Zulfiqar Ahmed was removed on disclosing corruption in Iqra Farogh Taleem Scheme.

Protesting in front of the speaker, the opposition staged a walk against refusal of the government to form the committee.

The session resumed under the chair of Deputy Speaker Mehmood Jan on Friday, the MMA MPA Mahmood Khan, on calling attention notice, stated that the provincial government was ignoring the constituencies of the opposition members. The PTI government did not release funds for the special package, priority basis projects, and district development measures for financial year 2018-19 for the constituencies of opposition MPAs.

He stated that development projects have been halted due to the delaying tactics, while the people of respective areas have been made to suffer for not electing the PTI candidate, which was totally against democratic norms.

He said that development was meant for the whole nation, rather than a single person or a party.

K-P Minister for Mineral and Natural Resources Dr Amjad Ali replied on the quires, that provincial government has released funds worth Rs300 million for the on-going projects and hoped that these projects would be completed on time.

The minister was reminded of rampant accidents in coalmines which have claimed numerous lives. He said: “The government will soon bring an amendment for the law of mines and mineral extraction, which will help provide a safe working environment to the miners and also safeguard the rights of the workers and owners.”

Corruption in education

The opposition members thorough their calling attention notice contended that millions of rupees have been embezzled under the head of Iqra Farogh Taleem Scheme from the Elementary Education Foundation while a huge amount has been withdrawn on the name of Ghost schools.

They alleged that all the misappropriation and corruption has been done with the support of officers and adviser to CM on education. They demanded formulation of a committee to probe the matter and identify the culprits.

ANP MPA Khushdil Khan speaking on a calling attention notice said MD of the Elementary Education Foundation was accused of misappropriating funds of Iqra Taleem Scheme – an initiative to bring out-of-school children back to school. The MD was suspended for drawing millions of rupees through vouchers.

Khushdil said the suspended CEO has accused adviser to CM on education, secretary education and relevant project officer of committing the pilferge, therefore the house should form a committee to probe into the affairs of the foundation.

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Lawmaker Inyatullah Khan seconded Khushdil’s stance and also demanded forming a committee to investigate the existence of ghost schools in the tribal and settled districts.

Leader of the Opposition Akram Khan Durrani said that it was alarming that officers pointing out corruption were removed from their posts. He demanded an investigation into the issue.

On the occasion the former provincial education minister and ANP Parliamentary Leader Sardar Hussain Babak stated that the affectees of Elementary Education Foundation have approached the NAB, the managing director has been suspended, a new MD has been suspended, then who is drawing the salary?.

K-P Information Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai stated that treasury and opposition should stand shoulder to shoulder for fighting corruption.

He said that government was against corruption and abiding by the policy of merit and transparency.

He was responding to the joint calling attention notice of Khushdil Khan Advocate of ANP and Inayat Ullah Khan of MMA about the millions of rupees worth of corruption and mismanagement in Elementary Education Foundation. The movers called for formation of a house committee to probe the matter.

The information minister, taking the floor said that as per business rules of the house no calling attention notice could be referred to parliamentary committee. He held the demand of the opposition as unjust and uncalled for and urged the chair to put the matter to vote.

The remarks of information minister irritated the opposition members who afterwards stood on their chairs and created pandemonium in the house. They later started chanting slogans, surrounded the chair and staged walkout. In the meantime the chair put off the proceedings due to lack of quorum.

Special Assistant to CM on Information Technology Kamran Khan Bangash said EEF managing director, according to the director monitoring report, released Rs35.47 million for fake enrolment in 90 ghost schools of Manshera district.

Meanwhile, KP Assembly passed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Stamp (Amendment) Bill 2019. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Monitoring Authority Bill 2019 was tabled in the house.

Both the bills were move by Special Assistant Kamran Bangash which were passed.

The chair adjourned proceedings of the house till Monday.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2019.