LAHORE - Former Punjab accountant general (AG) Zahid Rashid Rana went underground after Chief Minister’s Inspection Team (CMIT) started investigations into the alleged corruption to the tune of over Rs 90 million he had allegedly committed, sources in the provincial government revealed on Monday.
The issue came into limelight a couple of weeks back when Auditor General of Pakistan Akhtar Boland Rana and Controller General Accounts (CGA) of Pakistan Farah Ayub Tareen locked horns over the post of Zahid Rasheed as the Punjab AG. The auditor general of Pakistan (AGP) posted Zahid as the Punjab AG a few weeks back by giving him additional charge of the Grade-21 post, ignoring the fact that he was a junior officer of Grade-19.
Meanwhile, the CGA also issued a notification, posting Syed Ghazanfar Mehdi on the same post. The trouble started when Mehdi tried to take charge from Zahid who refused to relinquish the charge, saying only the authority that had posted him could transfer him from the slot.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the issue and ordered an investigation after the incident captured attention of the media. On the direction of the CM, an investigation team, comprising Irfan Ali, chairman, Chief Minister’s Inspection Team (CMIT), former chief secretary Pervez Masood and Excise and Taxation Director General Naseem Sadiq, was formed.
Sources privy to the issue told The Nation that the investigation team took record of the AG office into custody and started probe. It was found during the course of investigation that accused Zahid had embezzled Rs 90 million against fake vouchers. The team also observed that the money was transferred to a fake bank account which has now been frozen on the recommendation of the probe team.
Sources at the chief minister’s office said Zahid had prepared fake papers, stamps and vouchers. The CMIT made an attempt to summon the accused, but he was not available at his address given in his service record. It is now thinking of seeking help of intelligence or FIA to trace his whereabouts.
It is also learnt that Zahid Rasheed Rana had been dismissed when he was serving in the Sales Tax Department in Lahore. The sources said Akhtar Boland Rana reinstated Zahid and posted him against the most important seat of the province. Many officers, including account officers and others, refused to obey a junior AG Punjab as he adopted a pick-and-choose policy to post his favourites on lucrative slots.
Another inquiry has also been initiated by Controller General of Accounts Farah Ayub, ordering departmental action against Zahid. This inquiry will be conducted by a committee, headed by Director General Admin Syed Mubarak.