Haunting tales of corruption: Ghost hospital running in chief minister’s backyard

For last three years, the facility was getting funds but no one knows where they went.

Hafeez Tunio June 07, 2015


Sindh is haunted. Its ghost schools are run by ghost teachers. Even some of its hospitals cater to ghosts only. On paper, everything is hunky dory. Funds are allocated and released to these ghost establishments. On ground, however, these facilities simply do not exist.

One such facility has been recently discovered in the constituency of the chief minister, Qaim Ali Shah. The medical facility exists only on paper.

For the past three years, funds have been allocated to the taluka hospital, Khairpur, according to the budget books. There exists, however, no hospital by the given name and officials term it another ghost case.

The budget papers, available with The Express Tribune, show the current expenditure allocations for the salaries of staff who include the medical superintendent, chief woman medical officer, 11 senior medical officers, a dental surgeon and two technicians, three staff nurses, two lady health visitors and a lab assistant, 10 dispensers and 13 midwives. Separately, funds were also earmarked for transportation, travelling allowances, furniture, uniforms, protective clothing, stationery, medicines and E-Ray films. No one knows where these funds were spent.

"A total of Rs63,462,000 were allocated for the hospital in the outgoing year, as compared to Rs53,489,000 in the previous budget in 2013-14," said a senior official of the planning and development department. The record shows that the medical superintendent draws a salary of Rs81,000 per month, the chief women medical officer Rs70,000, while the 11 medical officers collectively draw Rs241,000. Separate funds have been earmarked for house rent allowances, ad-hoc allowances, medical allowances, dressing allowances and health professional allowances.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Khairpur District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Sadaruddin Soomro said the only major public health facility in Khairpur was the civil hospital and that there was no taluka hospital in the town.  "This is a typo on the part of the finance department in budget books. The budget of another hospital has been printed with the name of the taulka hospital, Khairpur," he justified, adding that they had not utilised the funds.

Health minister Dr Jam Mehtab Dahar said he had ordered an inquiry into the matter soon after taking charge of the department a few months ago. "The funds actually belong to Gambat taluka or some other hospital, but have been mistakenly printed under the name of taluka hospital, Khairpur," he said, adding that he has asked the finance minister to stop the funds.

Pakistan Muslim League - Functional MPA Dr Muhammad Rafique Banbhan, who belongs to the same district, told The Express Tribune that over 70 per cent of the funds meant for the ghost hospital had been utilised. "This is the third consecutive year. They allocate and spend the budget in the name of this hospital.  I will present the details of this hospital's expenditure in the next session of the assembly," he said, adding that Pakistan Peoples Party ministers, MPAs and the bureaucracy were shareholders in these kinds of scams. "This practice has been going on for the last seven years. We have raised this issue many time, but the relevant authorities pay us no heed," he said.

The lawmaker added that there were eight town committees in the district, each having been allocated over Rs20 million, but not a single brick had been laid in any street. "All these funds are being bungled by these people."

Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2015. 


Zaheer | 9 years ago | Reply One should not surprise with this type of stories surface on national media as in Pakistan democracy only means loot and plunder so what's the issue if a budget is allocated for ghost hospital. The present and previous governments of PPP in sindh has break all records of corruption, nepotism and minting money by its ministers the CM is so innocent that he does'nt know what is going wrong under his nose (in his constituency) simply because of his give and take policy. This is not the first time that chief minister sindh has proved that he is the most incompetent CM of sindh province but he is the blue eyed person of corrupt PPP leadership who wanted him to serve for their vested interests. The real issue is where is NAB and what they are doing? Is it not the loss of national exchequer? In sometime we will read a story like 'ghost chief minister, ghost ministers and ghost assembly' etc.
Ali | 9 years ago | Reply Isn't Bilawal in town for his summer vacation? Perhaps he can help these poor people out by shedding some light on what his jiyalas are up to!
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