GUJRAT-Investigations into financial irregularities, out of turn appointments and promotions at key faculty and administration posts made at the University of Gujrat (UoG) are likely to open a new can of worms, The Nation has learnt.

Sources at the university including a few disgruntled employees, told this scribe on the condition of anonymity that flagrant violation of the rules and regulations by former vice chancellor Dr Nizamuddin during the last years of his tenure had not only caused a loss of hundreds of millions of rupees to the exchequer but also polarised the general atmosphere of the institution. Thus, a cold war is still going on between those favoured in Nizamuddin era and the rest with a feeling of disgruntlement.

They called for an impartial inquiry into all the irregularities during that period. The sources said that ex-treasurer Tariq Saeed was also given the charge of director purchase and maintenance, which is unprecedented in any government institution of higher education.

They also revealed that IT equipment worth Rs185 million was purchased in disregard to the PPRA rules; and another purchase worth Rs34 million was also made without following the due procedure. They claimed that a just and impartial inquiry against the former treasure would open a Pandora’s box of corruption.

Last year, an internal audit unearthed a scam in which the former treasurer received a sum of about Rs700,000 in self-incremented salaries. The current vice chancellor, Dr Ziaul Qayyum, referred the case to the Auditor General of Pakistan. The case was also reported by the local and national media.

The sources also said that about 95 appointments including those of additional treasurer and deputy treasurer made in the same era were in total in violation of the merit. They added that these ‘favoured’ employees were also awarded advance increments, without the recommendation of selection board and the approval of the syndicate.

They revealed that basic salaries of some officials of the treasurer’s office are twice or even thrice than those of their counterparts in the same grade. The appointment of the first full professor was also made against the eligibility criteria. An instructor from Quetta who had been performing administrative duties was appointed as science professor. He did not fulfill the basic condition of required number of research papers nor the teaching experience. An engineering professor who did not have the required number of research papers and was declared disqualified by two of the three experts was also appointed as professor. His co-author in one of his research papers from Punjab University was invited as expert to tilt the scale in his favour.

Similarly, the dossier of management sciences professor had also been rejected but he was appointed against the rules, claimed the sources. They said that the rules were set aside to pave the way for the appointment of a Lahore college female lecturer whose doctorate thesis supervisor happened to be the former UoG vice chancellor. Without naming, the sources said that the lady was promoted to grade 21 in the next few years.

Another candidate was appointed professor despite two ‘third divisions’ in the academic career, they said. They disclosed that an inquiry is currently going on with regard to the appointment of additional registrar using fake documents.

According to the UoG VC, additional responsibilities of director purchase and maintenance has been taken back from former treasurer Tariq Saeed because it was against the law. Later, he was found indulged in other financial irregularities after the audit report of resident auditors. In which he had drawn Rs650,000 to Rs700,000 as an extra salary. In response, the university management had formed a committee and the case was forwarded to auditor general of Pakistan for further inquiry. Furthermore, former treasurer had not followed the due procedure of procurement and many irregularities had been found such as miss-procurement, stock without entries and purchase of IT equipment without auction.

He added that about 95 out of turn appointments had been made without following the prescribed procedure. An inquiry is underway with the HR department regarding the administrative staff and faculty members of university, report of which would be available soon after the syndicate meeting, he concluded.