Corruption plagues public health setup in Sialkot

ACE Sialkot registers embezzlement and corruption case against accused DHO, DDO (Health), health dept store in charge.

Ppi September 26, 2010

SIALKOT: The Anti Corruption Establishment (ACE) Sialkot has registered an embezzlement and corruption case against the accused district health officer (DHO) Dr Muhammad Shakeel Butt, DDO (Health) Sialkot Dr Munim Javaid, health department store in charge Dr Khalid Mehmood and storekeepers Mohsin Shah, Muzaffar and Abdul Hameed for embezzling official medicines worth millions of rupees from the the health department.

ACE officials arrested the accused Dr Munim Javaid (DDO Health Sialkot) in the case on Saturday. Earlier, ACE had arrested two junior health department employees Abdul Hameed and Muzaffar for embezzling medicines on Thursday. “The men had been taking entire boxes of medical equipment and selling them illegally at exorbitant rates,” said Allah Buksh, an ACE official.

The accused DHO Shakeel Butt, store officer Dr Khalid Mehmood and storekeeper managed to escape by dodging the raiding ACE team and leaving the district before they could be arrested.

The officials also took administrative records from the medicines stores from where they had embezzled the medicines. ACE Sialkot has registered a case (35/2010) under sections 166, 247/5, 409, 420 and 468 PPC against the above mentioned accused on the report of executive district officer (EDO-Health) Sialkot Dr Syed Talat Iqbal.

“I discovered the activities in the health department a couple of months ago but it took time to trace out the source behind them, now that we know who is responsible they must be brought to book,” Iqbal said.

ACE deputy director Maqsood Lone told reporters that all the accused involved and nominated in this case would be arrested as soon as possible. He said that ACE had already recovered the embezzled medicines from the house of a Sialkot health department lady health visitor and some private clinics run by quacks located in remote areas of the district.

According to health officials, the medicines were sold out to the clinics by the accused officials on a monthly basis.

On Thursday, the provincial health secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad suspended the accused DHO Shakeel Butt, DDO (Health) Javaid and Dr Khalid Mehmood. EDO (health) Sialkot Dr Syed Talat Iqbal suspended five other accused employees of the health department including the mentioned storekeepers on Saturday.

The EDO Health Sialkot has levied the charges in the FIR lodged at ACE police station Sialkot including theft and tampering of official records of medicines and supplies and obstructing the inquiry proceedings into the recovery of government property from the private clinics.

The entire stock of medicine was discovered by health officials from an illegal storage facility. On Saturday, ACE officials produced the arrested accused Dr Munim Javaid (DDO Health Sialkot) and storekeepers Abdul Hameed and Muzaffar before the court of the special judicial magistrate Sialkot, as the court granted a one-day judicial remand of the accused. ACE officials have been asked to produce the accused before the court of senior civil judge Sialkot on September 25, 2010 Saturday (today) for a further physical remand in this case.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2010.


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