KARACHI: The principals of around 136 public colleges have threatened to resign over what they term as the provincial education department’s ‘bullying tactics’ to extract money from their pockets in the form of bribes.
The college principals, converged under the banner of the ‘Government Colleges Principals Association,’ held a press conference on Thursday during which they accused the education department’s additional secretary, Rehan Iqbal Baloch, of allegedly demanding Rs30,000 from each college for the ‘reconciliation of receipts and expenditures’ in the colleges’ accounts.
“The additional secretary [Baloch] is heading a mafia within the education department that has been extorting money from the colleges since December last year,” claimed Prof Dr Salahuddin Sani, the president of the association, who is principal of the Pakistan Shipowners’ Government College.
He was referring to the provincial education department’s letters addressed to the college principals, demanding them to appear in person at the education secretariat along with the reconciliation of receipts and expenditures for the financial years, 2012-13 and 2013-14.
“Once the college principals approach the secretariat, the additional secretary picks on them with frivolous charges and culminates the meeting by asking for bribes to clear those charges,” alleged Prof Sani. “This has been going on for around three months and we now have no other option but to submit our mass resignations in the coming weeks.”
All this is happening, added Naeem Haider, vice-president of the association and principal of the Adamjee Government Science College, on the pretext of the Sindh finance department’s letter to the education department, dated August 21, 2014. This letter pointed out that the Sindh Accountant General and the district accounts officers have recorded a number of reservations on reconciliation of accounts in the health and education departments. “They [the education department’s bureaucracy] have found a great way to seek ‘reconciliation’ by asking for Rs30,000 from each college,” said Haider. “The audit matters will likely remain as they are and over Rs4 million will go into the pockets of this mafia.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2015.