Certain irregularities have come to the fore at the Kaghan Development Authority (KDA) with regard to the salaries of sanitation staff and ghost employees. An official, choosing to remain anonymous, told The Express Tribune that corruption was done with the alleged collusion of the accounts officer and director general (DG).
It was learned that the charge of the KDA Chief Sanitary Inspector Mazhar Shah has been taken back from the accounts officer after corruption reports, however, he is still currently serving on four different positions. An inquiry was conducted against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on charges when he was employed at Multan Development Authority.
Sources said the official was given multiple seats at once, including deputy director, assistant director accounts, chief sanitary inspector, and vehicle in-charge. Shah was enjoying the benefits of a basic pay scale (BPS) 18 official whereas he was a BPS 16 official, they added.
They further stated that the actual number of sanitary workers at KDA and those on paper did not match. Meanwhile, Rs30,000 under salary per sanitary worker was released every month while the workers received only between Rs15,000 and Rs18,000.
It was alleged that Shah is involved in gulping around Rs12,000 from the salary of each worker and caused damage of millions of rupees to the treasury. Upon being contacted, he said that each of the 40 sanitary workers was paid around Rs20,000 during the winter season.
In response to corruption charges, the people have demanded the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief minister and other senior officials to take notice of the corruption and give strict punishment to the officials involved.
In this regard, KDA DG Muhammad Asif said that the season was very short this year due to the novel coronavirus, adding that it started in August and ended in November 2020. He further stated that despite a dearth of resources, KDA played an active role in promoting tourism in the region.
Responding to a question about ghost employees, the official said that they did not exist in KDA and when asked about the salaries, Asif said workers were given their salaries through bank transfers and each received Rs1,000 per day, adding that the salary for their off-day was deducted.
The DG also mentioned that Shah was given additional charges due to lack of employees in KDA while the allowances were given according to the grade. He refuted all allegations of corruption and instead stressed that the authority ensured cleanliness in Kaghan during the tourism season. He added that all officials were deployed by the government and not him.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2021.
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