The Camp Jail superintendent has been made an officer on special duty (OSD) on charges of corruption and misuse of authority, The Express Tribune has learnt.
An official close to the development said Superintendent Gulzar Ahmed Butt left the country a day before the orders for his suspension were issued. He said the orders were issued by Chief Minister’s Secretariat after several complaints were received against the official accusing him of granting favours to inmates in exchange for hefty kickbacks. He said Butt had been accused of making more than Rs12 million a month in bribes.
A Home Department official speaking on condition of anonymity said a Pakistan Muslim League-N member of the National Assembly from Sialkot was a strong supporter of Butt. He said the MPA had lived at Butt’s official residence in Lahore for over a year.
Another official said several Prisons Department officials were colluding with Butt. He said several complaints were received against Butt but no action had been earlier taken because he enjoyed support of influential politicians. He said the Lahore High Court had ordered Butt’s suspension last year. He said on that occasion the superintendent remained suspended for a month but was finally reinstated.
The official said Butt had received bribes for allowing B-class facilities to Bank of Punjab scam accused Seth Nisar Ahmed, Sheikh Afzal and Hamesh Khan. He said the jail superintendent and his team had fixed rates for various favours. “They charged Rs10,000 to allow hospitalisation to the inmates. Mobile phone use was allowed for a monthly payment of Rs15,000. Rs1,000 was charged for arranging a meeting with an outsider,” he said. He added that a prisoner could get better-quality food for Rs10,000 a month. He said at least 500 people visited the jail everyday to meet various prisoners. “They charged between Rs1,000 and 2,000 to shift prisoners between barracks,” he said.
He said barrack no9 was considered the most comfortable barrack so Rs10,000 a month was charged from a prisoner who wanted to occupy it.
Dr Shoaib Akbar, the Home Department additional secretary, expressed ignorance about the allegations and said that he had been away attending a senior management course.
Inspector General of Prisons Kokab Nadeem Warraich rejected the suggestion that there was widespread corruption in the department. He also said following few complaints he had held an inquiry against the jail superintendent but none of the charges were proven. He said these allegations were apparently filed by some officials who had been jealous of the officer because they were not posted to ‘favourable’ offices.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2011.
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