islamabad - The National University of Modern Languages (NUML) is sitting on the inquiry held on the scholarships awarded to candidates on the basis of alleged nepotism.

The case has distinguished significance as NUML in 2008 had awarded two out of 03 scholarships to the children (daughter and son-in-law) of the then rector of university. The scholarships were announced by the Higher Education Commission (HEC)

Though, almost a decade passed, the university administration is not ready to disclose the report of inquiry held in the case in which amount of Rs8.236 million was awarded to three candidates.

The then audit report had given observation regarding selection of candidates in which proper criteria was not followed and two scholarships went in favour of daughter and son-in-law of then rector Brig (Retd) Aziz Ahmad Khan.

Under the programme, Waqas Hssan and Ayesha Waqas got admission at the Sussex University, United Kingdom, in MS/MPhill leading to PhD in Information Technology. A total amount of Rs5.48 million was spent on both candidates.

A source informed The Nation that inquiry in this regard was put under the carpet by university administration instead of awarding any punishment to the team involved in the scam. “Terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement deed were also not met by the candidates as they didn’t join the university after completion of the programme while recovery of the amount spent on them is also in limbo,” he added.  The university had developed its own criteria in awarding the scholarships because the HEC had not mentioned any guidelines.

As per rules of HEC, universities are bound to pledge the property equally to the amount awarded for scholarship to a candidate and the scholar has to return and serve in the university for at least five years. 100 per cent expenses of the candidate are covered under the Faculty Development Programme. If the candidate fails to meet the terms of agreement it has to pay 25 per cent penalty along with spent amount on it. In the case, the candidate has no property to pledge to university, it has two bring two government officials as his guarantors to achieve the scholarship.

The source informed that the then administration under the influence of previous rector ‘especially relaxed’ the criteria for awarding the scholarships. And later, he said, the administration didn’t hold beneficiaries accountable.

“Instead of pledging any property against the amount of scholarship, the rector’s children managed to win the admission against court papers worth Rs240 each,” he said.

According to the Agreement Deed available with The Nation, contract binds the candidate to return to the country after completion of the approved course and serve in NUML for at least five years.

“If he/she fails to comply with the instruction/orders of NUML for proceeding abroad without any cogent reason acceptable to NUML, he/she will be liable to reimburse to NUML on demand, the amount of passage money spent by NUML, in connection with his/her scheduled visit abroad,” says the deed.

It also stated in the agreement that on violation of any condition laid down in Bond for studies/training abroad under the Scholarship Programme, he/she will be liable to pay the penalty as prescribed therein.

The scholarship award was valid for 04 years and renewable up to a maximum total duration of 60 months.

The deed agreement between candidate and the university also bound the applicant from changing the course or undertaking employment without the approval of university.

In the deed agreement of Waqas Hassan, the university paid complete tuition fee for his degree and also stipend of 750 UK pounds per month to cover his living expenses.

Director Administration and Registrar NUML were made the witness of agreement deed in 2008, which was approved by Rector Dr Aziz Ahmed Khan.

NUML University was the guarantor before Sussex University and father of Waqas Hassan was guarantor before university of NUML as per the legal document.

“Neither the candidate acted according to conditions nor he was awarded any punishment,” said source.

Meanwhile, an official from HEC informed The Nation that it is the primary responsibility of the concerned university to recover the amount from candidate if he/she violates the rules.

Meanwhile, University of Sussex UK in a statement replied to The Nation under Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the Act”).

“ Waqas Hassan WH graduated from the University with the following degrees:

Master of Science in Embedded Digital Systems, Doctor of Philosophy from the School of Engineering and Informatics, July 2013”.

The Nation repeatedly contacted the NUML administration both in verbal and written ways following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and asked about details of any inquiry held in the case or the recovery of the amount.

However, the university administration without sharing any details of the inquiry replied: “We went through the whole process”.