HYDERABAD - The Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, has been using the Higher Education Commission’s funds to pay for the health insurance of its employees .

The disclosure was made by officials of the LUMHS upon the court’s inquiry during the hearing of a petition in Sindh High Court here Wednesday.

The officials apprised the court that the university’s syndicate gave an approval in that regard in 2015.

“Since 2015, the LUMHS have converted funds received through the HEC in the health insurance of the varsity employees which never seems to be the object of allocation of such funds by the HEC ,” noted the bench of Justice Salahuddin Panhwar and Justice Fahim Ahmed Siddiqi.

The bench was told that LUMHS received Rs.742 million from the HEC and Rs.557 million from the Sindh government for its current budget.

The SHC ordered an audit of LUMHS’ accounts by Ferguson and Co. It directed the university to handover entire record including the received funds and generated revenue of last 5 years to the chartered accountant adding that the university would also have to pay the company for the audit.

With regard to the syndicate’s approval, the court noted that although the syndicate was competent to make rules, it could not justify the use of a ‘trust’ for any other purpose.

“This is an alarming situation that the (HEC’s) funds are being utilised for the medical treatment of the employees in the private hospitals of their own choice.”

Upon inquiry during the hearing, the officials of LUMHS failed to provide details of the budget utilisation.

The SHC issued notice to chairman HEC to clarify the criteria under which the budget could be utilized which was provided to the universities and also to apprise the court if the varsities were allowed to use the same for any other purpose.  The court also ordered the chairman HEC to obtain the budget utilisation reports from all the universities.

The bench asked LUMHS to submit details of affiliated colleges and institutions while also clearly mentioning whether or not they were approved by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). The PMDC was also asked to assist the court in this regard.

The SHC also put the Sindh Healthcare Commission on notice, directing the commission to collect details of the health insurance policies of all medical universities and to take action if any irregularity was found.

The registrar LUMHS informed the court that Agha Khan University hospital, South City hospital, Liaquat National hospital and Isra University hospital were among the private hospitals on the insurance panel.

The bench restrained the university from using the public money to pay for the private healthcare of its employees .

“To this, there has been placed no legal or reasonable justification,” the judges observed.

The court also put LUMHS vice chancellor on notice and ordered him to personally appear on the next hearing on Sep 22.