by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia
A big part of Sindh’s sorrows is the rampant corruption that prevents substantial amounts of funds being spend for common good in Sindh. With the spread of dangerous diseases such as Hepatitis, rural Sindh has one of worst health facilities in South Asia. Just imagine how much of private effort and time would be required to collect Rs. 299 millions (US $ 3.7 million) in donations. This much amount was siphoned away just in one year.
We are in a tough situation! One one hand, we try our best to put pressure on USAid and other international aid organizations to ensure that Sindh is not denied its due share in the distribution of aid and loans and then we read the news such as below that some scrupulous Sindhis are shamelessly looting from educational and health budgets.This is quite discouraging!
It is imperative that local (Sindh-based) and overseas Sindhis should start a campaign against increasing corruption in Sindh. This will definitely in the reduction of misery for common people.
Rs. 299m irregularities detected in health dept
Tuesday, 24 Mar, 2009 | 05:45 PM PST |
KARACHI: The health department of Sindh accepted Rs53.48 million worth of medicines without determining their quality and potency, failed to replace drugs worth Rs1.99 million that were declared substandard by the drug test laboratory, and suffered a loss of Rs1.68 million due to the expiry of medicines during the year 2005-06.
Involving an amount of Rs57.15 million, this is only a fraction of the total Rs299.52 million in financial irregularities unearthed by auditors in their report for the year 2005-06.
The Public Accounts Committee of the Sindh Assembly, headed by Sardar Jam Tamachi, will take up the audit report for consideration and subsequent suggestions once it finalises its recommendations for the 2004-2005 audit report.
The audit report for the year 2005-06 says that six offices of the health department – additional secretary health (procurement) , Liaquat University Hospital, Hyderabad, Chandka Medical College, Larkana, People’s Medical College Hospital, Nawabshah, Services Hospital Karachi, and the Inspection and Import Depot of Karachi – made purchases of Rs87.10 million but the details of the procurements are not mentioned in the relevant stock register.
The auditors found that the Liaquat University Hospital of Hyderabad purchased machinery, equipment and stationery articles worth Rs76.41 million; Chandka Medical College, Larkana, bought crockery items for Rs0.64 million; and People’s Medical College Hospital, Nawabshah, procured medicines worth Rs0.36 million.
On account of various hospital dues, fees and rent, a total of Rs61.80 million were realised. However, the amount was not deposited in the treasury, which was a violation of Rule 41 of the Sindh Financial Rules, Volume-I. Besides, the auditors say, dialysis machines worth Rs22.90 million were purchased while the lowest bids in this regard were ignored without any reason.
According to the report, tenders were invited for 16 dialysis machines equipped with complete RO system but the contractor quoted the rates separately as Rs0.696 million for each dialysis machine and Rs0.5466 million for each portable RO system. Instead of 16 complete sets 27 dialysis machines and six portable RO systems were purchased without carrying out any consultation with hospital administrations.
The scrutiny of the expenditures’ statement revealed that machinery and equipment costing Rs86.93 million were purchased by the office of the additional secretary health (procurement) but the statement of the Import and Inspection Depot revealed that they only received machinery and equipment worth Rs71.12 million. There is no mention of the machinery and equipment costing Rs15.81 million in the Import and Inspection Depot’s record.
The office of additional secretary (procurement) purchased X-ray films worth Rs14.08 million without obtaining clinical efficacy report from the Civil Hospital Karachi, which was a violation of Clause 18.3 of the contract agreement. The office paid Rs7.20 million on the purchase of a 500 KVA generator to M/s Allied Engineering instead of the lowest bidder, M/s Irfan & Bros, who quoted its rate as Rs6.44 million. Advance payment was made to the bidder in violation of the rules. Besides, medicines and equipment costing Rs1.34 million were purchased without calling tenders and without approval of the technical committee.
Similarly, the office of additional secretary health (procurement) and Lyari General Hospital ignored the lowest bid for the renovation of buildings and provision of medical services without assigning any reason, including the purchase of equipment for a surgical operation theatre at a cost of Rs7.27 million.
The directorate of the malaria control programme purchased laptop and multimedia projection and secretary health department purchased five laser jet printer HP-1200 and five P-IV machines at the rate of Rs37,000 each. A total of Rs0.6445 million was spent in violation of para-67, chapter-IV of the Sindh Purchase Manual, 1991.
Sindh Medical Faculty
The office of director-cum- controller of examination, Sindh Medical Faculty, Karachi, granted loans of Rs5.24 million to different officers/hospitals not related to the Sindh Medical Faculty for various purposes during the year 1993-2004. The auditors say that there is no provision in the faculty rules for grant of loans to an employee outside the faculty.
The office incurred Rs2.96 million on honoraria, paid without any policy and criteria at a rate other than the one duly approved by the governing body. A total of Rs3.11 million was incurred on account of POL expenditures by unauthorised persons. Besides, no logbook and relevant records were maintained.
On account of ‘Medical Camp at Jacobabad’ and ‘Tasman oil leakage,’ the office of director-cum- controller of examination issued Rs2.0 million out of faculty funds to deputy director of the school health services, Karachi, without obtaining approval of the governing body.
Import, inspection depot
The Import and Inspection Depot Karachi without awaiting the report of medicine samples from the drug test laboratory released medicines to various hospitals. Later, some of the medicines worth Rs2.75 million were found substandard. Similarly, the depot spent Rs0.07 million on purchase of uniforms.
A loss of Rs1.68 million was incurred due to expiry of medicines in the Inspection and Import Depot and Civil Hospital, Karachi.
The report says that residential quarters of the Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases, Karachi, were in unauthorised possession and the authorities concerned could not recover Rs7.68 million rent for the quarters. A loss of Rs4.60 million was incurred due to fixed monthly recovery of water and gas dues at the rate of Rs26 and Rs75, respectively. Similarly, electricity charges of Rs5.58 million were not recovered from officials residing in government accommodations at the Ojha Institute and Chandka Medical College Hospital, Larkana.
The report finds that Chandka Medical College Hospital, Larkana, has been making an annual payment of Rs4.5 million to M/s Fazal Din & Sons Karachi on the maintenance/ service of lithotripter machine for the last 10 years. The auditors say a new machine could be bought for 20 per cent of the total service charges paid during the decade.
Besides, an amount of Rs2.06 million was fraudulently drawn from the treasury/district accounts office of Larkana on account of electricity charges of the medical college. The medical college hospital retained Rs1.45 million in a private account and did not deposit the amount in the government treasury.
The civil hospital failed to recover to Rs2.33 million for X-ray services.
People’s Medical College Hospital retained Rs0.05 million in a private account and did not deposit the amount in the government treasury.
The Lyari General Hospital Karachi and Services Hospital Hyderabad paid Rs0.751 million and Rs0.157 million, respectively, to an NGO ‘Patients Welfare Society’ out of government receipts realised on account of laboratory charges, which should have been deposited into the government treasury.
March 28, 2009