Over 100 officials may face NAB for corruption in IT projects

ISLAMABAD (MEDIA )

An internal inquiry recently launched by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has revealed gross irregularities, administrative lapses and financial corruption to the tune of billions of rupees in twenty projects involving more than 100 officials. The News reported.

The sources said Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rehman Khan has now ordered to fix the specific roles of each and every official attached with these projects and send their cases to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to launch a full fledged inquiry into corrupt practices allegedly done by them.

They said the relevant wing would prepare a list of corrupt officials and submit it to the minister who would later forward it to NAB for further proceedings. They added, “The minister also directed to take utmost care about compilation of the list with an aim to ensure no official is victimised or any name is included without solid proof.”

A senior official of the Ministry of Information Technology confided to this correspondent that when the minister took charge, she directed Pakistan Computer Bureau (PCB) and Electronic Government Directorate (EGD) to give presentations about their projects.

“The minister during these presentations smelled something fishy after which she ordered an internal inquiry of all the projects.

Now the inquiry has revealed corruption in twenty projects and cases are being prepared against all those officials who are allegedly responsible for corrupt practices in these projects,” he said.

The sources said that in the past, PCB and EGD focused on the procurement of hardware instead of development of softwares that adversely affected the performance of the ministry.

They said the minister is angry over the fact that the PCB miserably failed to develop softwares to improve functioning of the federal ministries and other state-run institutions and instead it spent millions of rupees to purchase hardwares through dubious contracts.

Talking to The News, Director Information Technology at the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Iftikhar Hussain said the internal inquiry was done with complete transparency that revealed corruption in twenty projects carried out in the past.

“In some cases rules and regulations were openly violated and contracts were awarded in dubious manner. We would ask NAB to carry out comprehensive inquiry and take strict action against corrupt officials,” he said.

To a question, he said the annual budget of the ministry has been reduced to almost Rs800 million – half for information technology and half for telecommunication sectors. Anusha Rehman Khan told The News that she got surprised to see level of irregularities in the projects and it is necessary to take action against those involved in illegal activities.

“I have formed a committee that would give its recommendation after which we would decide whether to send cases against corrupt officials to NAB or FIA,” she said.The minister said some projects were initiated in 2002 and were supposed to be completed in two to three years but surprisingly these are still being run as the previous governments continued to give extensions ignoring inefficiency of the relevant officials.

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