SUKKUR: As part of its campaign against corrupt government officials, a team from the National Accountability Bureau (Nab), Sukkur on Wednesday raided the office of the taluka municipal administration (TMA), Garhi Yasin in district Shikarpur and took its records into custody.
The raid was conducted following complaints of massive corruption in the department due to which most of the taluka municipal officers (TMO) have either gone underground or have hidden records pertaining to various works.
On Wedesday a NAB team raided the office of the Garhi Yasin TMA. The officials, including the TMO, locked the records in cabinets and fled soon after the arrival of the team. The Nab team reportedly broke the locks of the cabinets and took the available records into their custody. A well-placed officer in Nab, confirming the raid, said that the records regarding POL, drainage works, recruitment of sweepers, fake bills and ghost contractors are missing from the years 2008 to 2013. We could only get our hands on the record for the years 2014 and 2015, however, an inquiry in this regard is being conducted, after which action will be initiated against the corrupt officials, the officer said.
When attempts were made to contact the TMOs of the Khairpur district by The Express Tribune their cell phones were switched off. Khairpur city TMO Mushtaq Jumani, ruling out corruption in the TMA, said they do not get extra funds, except for the payment of salaries and pensions. He said there are 1,100 employees in the TMA and North Sindh Urban Services Corporation and the share received through the Octroi and Zila tax is used up by the salaries of the staff alone. Since the octroi system was scrapped in 1999, the employees have been transferred to other departments of the TMA, he said.
The chairperson of the district Amn committee Khairpur, Yar Muhammad Sahito, said that massive corruption has been done in development works throughout the district. He said there are hundreds of ghost employees in the TMAs, whose salaries are being pocketed by corrupt officials. He claimed that there is lot of political interference in the TMAs, which is why these civic bodies, despite the release of millions of rupees under different heads, are unable to provide better civic facilities to the residents.
Faiz Ganj TMO Illahi Bux Bhanbhan told The Express Tribune that when he took over as TMO a couple of months back, the outgoing officer was not ready to hand over the records. There were 480 employees in the TMA and after thorough perusal of the records and bank statements, it was found that all but 135 of the employees were ghost employees, he said. Replying to a question about the TMOs hiding the records, he said they have multiplied their problems by doing this, because any agency, in the case of a raid will ask for the records and they have to provide it. He said corruption cannot be hidden for long and one day the corrupt officials have to pay back what they have stolen.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2015.