A Rs150 million embezzlement scam at the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology (FUUAST) Islamabad campus continues to plague the campus. Now, the campus in-charge has approached the university chancellor — the President of Pakistan — through a letter requesting that action be taken against the vice chancellor and treasurer over their alleged roles in the scam.
The money was allegedly transferred from a university account to a private one and then ‘invested’ in some private businesses, all of which purportedly happened under the noses of top management.
After learning of the illegal account, Karachi campus-based VC Dr Zafar Iqbal set up an inquiry committee headed by newly-appointed campus in charge Lt Gen (retd) Shahid Aziz.
Four university employees involved in opening the bank account were suspended following the inquiry report.
The committee found that Personal Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor Abdul Rashid Bangash, Accountant Hammad Kayani, Audit Officer Rana Asif, Deputy Registrar Shah Muhammad and another official were involved in opening the new account.
But later, the VC separated Aziz from the inquiry and formed another body.
Now, Aziz has written a letter to President Mamnoon Hussain to bring “corruption and malpractice being perpetrated by the university’s senior leadership” to his attention.
In the letter sent to the president, Dr Iqbal is accused of aiding in the illegal activity and later attempting to help cover it up.
“When the scope of the inquiry was broadened by the convener, the VC tried to administratively squeeze him into resigning from his post,” a brief to the president read.
On Monday, sources said that Aziz seemed ready to give in to pressure from top management to resign and quit the office, but other staffers urged him to stay till the saga is resolved.
“When the VC has rid of all my administrative powers, there is no use sitting here,” Aziz told The Express Tribune.
Meanwhile, over a hundred varsity teachers and other staffers continued protesting against the suspension of the four officials, claiming it was an attempt to make lower staff scapegoats. “Down with the VC and his aides” and “no more corrupt management” were among the slogans being chanted.
The top management has transferred three of the ‘active’ officials --- deputy controller examination, assistant registrar and the personal assistant to the VC — to the Karachi Campus to fend off backlash from employees.
Fearing further ‘punitive’ action from top management, capital campus employees have obtained a stay order from the Islamabad High Court. The Deputy registrar said that till September 6, nobody can be transferred or suspended by the Karachi campus management.
A two-hour meeting was also held at Karachi Campus on Tuesday, but details were not provided by the VC’s office when contacted.
As for students, uncertainty continues to grow. “I am here for my project completion but the protest has halted every activity at the campus,” said Fawad Hussain, an Information Technology student.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th,2014.
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