ISLAMABAD - A big financial fraud has rocked Federal Urdu University of Science and Technology, triggering the management to initiate a probe into the unauthorised and secret transfer of Rs 150 million from the designated private bank branch to a private bank account.

The Nation learnt on Monday that the money deposited by the university’s students as tuition and admission fees with the designated branch of a private bank was secretly transferred on July 23, 2013, to another fake account for investment in private businesses.

Lt-Gen (r) Shahid Aziz, in-charge of the campus in Islamabad, has constituted a five-member committee to fix responsibility in the scam besides issuing show-cause notices to Deputy Treasurer Asim Bukhari, Deputy Registrar Shah Muhammad, Assistant Treasurer Hamad Kayani and Accountant Rana Asif.

Fingers are also being pointed at Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Shalimar branch Manager Rana Umair for transferring the money to another bank without getting written permission from the vice chancellor of the university.

Sources said the bank manager on Monday was summoned to the campus by the five-member probe committee over unilateral transfer of the money without any direction of the university’s management.

However, he denied the charges when approached by this correspondent, saying the issue had been brought into the notice of his employer, arguing he was not authorised to comment on the questionable transfer of money.

The scam was detected a week ago when junior accounts officers at the university came to know that balance in the campus account was zero and that Rs 150 million had been transferred to another account over the last one year.

“This is the biggest financial fraud in the university since its inception in 2002. The issue has been brought into the notice of President Mamnoon Hussain who is also chancellor of the university,” a senior official, while showing the documents of the money transfer, disclosed to The Nation.

While the top management of the educational institution has initiated an internal inquiry into the scandal, grilling its own officers, insiders say the corruption scandal is too big and complicated to be settled internally. It must be referred to National Accountability (NAB) or be probed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), they maintain.

“The scam involves bank officials and senior officers of the university. We must involve FIA or NAB to unearth the fraud and fix responsibility. No internal inquiry can do justice,” an official said.

Interestingly, the money missing from the designated account of Federal Urdu University has not yet been recovered as the account holder of the private bank has not so far been identified while the university officers who allegedly asked the manager to transfer the amount too are not yet known.

Vice Chancellor Zafar Iqbal could not be contacted for comments as he was not in his office while no senior official in the campus was ready to comment on the issue.

However, the documents available with The Nation reveal that Treasurer Muhammad Ali, in his briefing to ex-NAB Director General Lt-Gen (r) Shahid Aziz, who heads the inquiry committee, opined that the manager of the private bank should be punished for unilaterally transferring the money to another private account.

An official said the financial fraud was a loss to the national exchequer while incompetence of the university’s management to properly maintain the accounts of the campus required exemplary punishment for those involved in the fraud.