Government College University GCUF Faisalabad scam brings former head in the dock

Published on February 23, 2011 at 9:28 am

Government College University GCUF Faisalabad scam brings former head in the dock
Faisalabad: A former acting vice-chancellor of the Government College University Faisalabad (GCUF) is in the dock after an inquiry team has declared him guilty of awarding construction contract to a ‘dubious’ company.

It was learnt on authority that Dr Shahid Mehboob Rana had awarded a contract of Rs146 million for the construction of the GCUF Social Sciences block to a fake company in December 2007. Dr Mehboob’s tenure ended on Oct 24, 2010.

Amid complaints about wrongdoing by the previous varsity administration the syndicate allowed the present setup to conduct a special audit of the academia affairs and the report has declared the former vice chancellor guilty of corruption.

The contract – one of the three major projects of the university — was awarded to the Campaigner Associates in December 2007 despite the fact that the company was not registered with the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).

The PEC rules say: “No engineering work can be constructed except by a constructor or operated except by an operator licensed as such by PEC.”

It further says “construction of an engineering work includes surveys, sub-soil and other investigations, erection, installation, testing and commissioning and execution of any other activities required to achieve the desired final shape of an engineering work, and also includes extension, remodeling, rebuilding and repair works.”

The then university administration ignored the rules by facilitating the company and caused a loss of more than Rs4 million to the national exchequer by evading sales and income tax on supplies of services and purchases for execution of civil works. The administration did not deduct amount of sales and income tax from the firm.

Documents available with Dawn show that the university had issued tenders to get the new social sciences block constructed and a few companies applied for the project which was awarded to the Campaigner Associates, a non-registered company.

Projects and Campus Development Director Muhammad Latif, a retired lieutenant colonel, had issued letter of acceptance after the approval by Dr Mehboob on Dec 3, 2007. The company had also been informed that “the time of completion was the essence of the contract and the entire work shall be completed within 455 days from the date of issuance on notice of commence.”

However, after three days of the acceptance letter, the university administration enhanced days from 455 to 546 for reasons best known to them. The varsity officials had also enhanced the project cost from Rs115 million to Rs146 million though they were authorised to enhance up to 4.5 per cent price of the project.

The administration is alleged to have tampered with the varsity documents to show that the contract was initially awarded to Campaigner Associates (Pvt) Ltd (a firm registered with the PEC) and thereafter subcontracted to Campaigner Associates, a fake company.

The subcontracting process was completed in a day (Dec 19, 2007). The PEC rules don’t allow subcontracting.

Sources said despite relaxations extended to the company the administration had failed to get the project completed.

The investigation found that former GCUF registrar Muhammad Mushtaq had also taken up the issue of award of contract to a fake company with the acting VC through a letter GCUF/Reg/10/3707 of Aug 24, 2010, and other officials but to no avail.

The registrar alleged in the letter that the project director received million of rupees in commission.

Dr Arif Ali Zaidi (VC) sent Latif packing on charges of corruption. However, the latter managed to regain his position. Dawn

Former registrar Mushtaq, who is now serving at the GCUF as director administration, told that Dr Shahid had been warned against entering into an agreement with the fake company but he did not pay heed. He said Dr Mehboob had made payments of millions of rupees to the firm.

The inquiry committee has reportedly sent report to the Anti-Corruption Establishment for an appropriate action.

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