Railways Schools Secretary Captain Asif was reprimanded by members of the Public Accounts Committee’s Special Committee for Railways on Saturday for his failure to find officials responsible for a school leasing scandal.
Asif told the meeting that a file containing information about the lease of 19 railway schools to a private school system had been lost by the then Railways secretary in 2006. He said an FIR had been lodged against unidentified suspects in 2009. The schools were leased to the private school system at Rs5,000 per month per school.
The committee could not hold detailed discussion on the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club lease case because most of the officials concerned were absent.
Committee chairwoman Yasmeen Rehman expressed concern over the extension in the lease of the 103-acre land to the club. The lease period has been extended by the administration from 33 to 50 years.
The committee directed the Railways to ensure the land director’s presence in the next hearing to respond to its queries.
The committee also took notice of the purchase of 175 coaches at a cost of $92 million without proper tenders.
Railways finance committee member Muhammad Aslam, who was speaking on behalf of the absent Railways chairman said the Finance Department of the Railways was involved in all corruption cases. He said financial irregularity by any department was impossible without Finance’s collusion.
Special committee member MNA Sardar Ayaz Sadiq earlier said the PAC had so far recovered Rs165 billion in 32 months.
He said this amount was more than that recovered either by the Federal Investigation Agency or the National Acocuntibility Bureau.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2011.
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