Corruption in academia :Govt funds worth Rs50m ‘misappropriated’ in MUET

The varsity’s former finance director is accused of being the main culprit in the scam

Safdar Rizvi August 10, 2020

Despite being one of the highest-ranking engineering universities in Pakistan, the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET), Jamshoro, has become a victim of some of its employees’ dishonest practices.

A unique yet disturbing case of financial corruption has come to the fore in the university, where a former employee has been exposed for transferring a government grant worth Rs50 million to his own bank account, The Express Tribune has learned. Not only that, but the employee is also said to have started a business with the embezzled amount.

The former deputy director of the varsity’s finance department, Waqas Ali Channa, who was posted at the MUET’s Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Campus in Khairpur, is said to be the main culprit in the scandal.

Sources added that other influential people belonging to the university’s administration were also involved in the case because, as per the law, government funds cannot be transferred to another account without the approval of the relevant authority.

However, when the matter came to light, the university administration held Channa solely responsible for the fraud and recommended that the provincial government investigate the matter. Following this, the Sindh Department of Universities and Boards wrote a letter to the anti-corruption department and asked it to launch an inquiry into the varsity’s financial irregularities.

According to sources, MUET Jamshoro’s vice-chancellor, Prof Mohammad Aslam Uqaili, informed the universities and boards department about the matter through a letter dated June 30, stating that Channa had transferred the money from MUET’s Khairpur campus accounts to his own account in a private bank.

It is worth noting the incident in question took place in 2017. During the intervening time, the Sindh government had even appointed Channa as the director of finance at the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University of Technology and Skill Development, Khairpur. Besides, he was also given the additional charge as the director of finance at the Begum Nusrat Bhutto Women University in Sukkur.

It has also been learned that so far, the Sindh government has not taken any action against Channa as an investigation is currently underway.

When contacted for comment on the matter, the MUET Jamshoro VC said that the university had conducted a departmental inquiry against the said officer.

“After thoroughly investigating the matter of financial corruption, the university has duly registered an FIR against the former deputy director of finance [Channa],” the VC said. “Besides, we have also been successful in recovering Rs10 million out of the embezzled amount of Rs50 million. Channa has also issued a statement in which he has confessed his crime.”

When asked whether the university’s deputy director of finance was authorised to transfer such a huge amount of money from the university’s official accounts into his own without the approval of the vice-chancellor, Professor Uqaili said that the incident happened during the tenure of the pro-vice-chancellor (PVC) of the varsity’s Khairpur campus, Ghulam Sarwar, while Dr Abdul Qadeer Rajput was the vice-chancellor of the university at that time.

“The PVCs of different campuses had the same authority as that of the vice-chancellor in financial matters, which continued until I took over as the VC. However, this does not mean that Sarwar was part of the fraud,” Uqaili stressed. “We are trying to obtain more details from the bank in order to get a clearer picture.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2020.


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