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SSP jailed for 10 years in Rs50m embezzlement case

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News Analysis |

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) detained a Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) andsentenced him to 10 years of imprisonment. Meanwhile, another police officer was acquitted in a corruption scam worth Rs.50 million, in Sindh.

PPP leaders have always accused the federal government of meddling in its affairs and pursuingconcerted strategies to pressurize it through ‘fake’ corruption and criminal cases.

On 31st July, 2018, the Accountability Court announced its verdict for the sentencing of former AIG (logistics) Tanveer Ahmed Tahir and former AIG (finance) Syed FidaHussain Shah in the case of misappropriation of funds allocated for fuel charges and other expenses.

Announcing the verdict, the judge sentenced one proprietor to 10 years of imprisonment on the grounds of embezzlement of Rs.50 million from Sindh Police Funds while freeing the other.

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The court found SSP Tanveer Ahmed guilty of corruption, an accessory to corrupt practices and misuse of official authority while imposing a fine of Rs.25 million on the ex-cop.

However, the co-accused, SP Syed FidaHussain Shah, former AIG (finance) was acquitted due to lack of evidence built up against him. It was reported that the prosecution failed to establish its allegations against the alleged accomplice.

Prior to their arrest, the officials filed pre-arrest bail applications which were rejected by the Supreme Court and subsequently they were arrestedon 5th June, 2018 by NAB officials.

Past Dealings

On 5th July, 2017, two police officials accompanied by their respective lawyers appeared before a bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed and requested bail before arrest in a NAB reference.

The federal government actively pursued the corrupt mafias in Sindh, an action which is commendable, other provinces where corruption has directly resulted in poor governance are ignored by Islamabad

Tackling these proprietors, NAB’s Special Prosecutor, Amjad Ali Shah, opposed the bail applications and informed the judgesthat a massive corruption case is pending and hence they cannot be released on bail.

The prosecution reported that funds were released to pay fuel charges and make special security arrangements for Muharram which were embezzled.

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It was alleged in this case that suspectFida sought approval from the Sindh police chief to pay for the fuel and other expenses. Similarly, Tahir allegedly sent five bills of Rs.10 million each to the Accountant General Sindh, for the release of the amount in the names of M/s Standard Services Station and M/s Quick Filling Station, Racecourse Road, Sukkur.

These allegations were followed by unravelling of the alleged withdrawal of Rs.30 million in the name of M/s Standard Services Station and Rs.20million in the name of M/s Quick Filling Station.

In October, 2017, the Supreme Court had rejected Shah’s bail petition in a reference alleging his involvement in Rs.50 million scam. Upon investigation, NAB officials revealed that the concerned fuel stations had neither issued any bills for payment of the amount nor they had received any such payment.

During inspection it was discovered that after receiving the fuel allowance the embezzled money was transferred to the bank account of Constable Mohammad Rafique. The NAB reference filed against Tahir alleged that he had generated fake bills to get huge funds in name of fuel allowance for vehicles of the Sindh Police.

Is corruption only limited to Sindh?

From Karachi’s simmering issues to the plight of populace in rural Sindh, Sindhalways makes headlines for all that is wrong with the country. Media analysts and political pundits regularly criticize PPP for its poor governance in the second largest province of Pakistan. PPP leaders have always accused the federal government of meddling in its affairs and pursuingconcerted strategies to pressurize it through ‘fake’ corruption and criminal cases.

Although, it can’t be denied that Sindh faces multifaceted issues, analysts opine that other provinces are also marred with corruption and injustice that demand accountability.

This leads to the rise of inquisition, ‘then why is Sindh solely targeted? It was witnessed in 2016 that a member of the Ehtesaab Commission resigned due to difference of opinion in work dealings.

Following the amendments made in Ehtesaab Act, Retired Lt Gen Mohammad Hamid Khan resigned, expressing that such changes made the accountability process controversial and questionable while negating the autonomy of the accountability watchdog.

While the federal government actively pursued the corrupt mafias in Sindh, an action which is commendable, other provinces where corruption has directly resulted in poor governance are ignored by Islamabad. The new government must ensure across the board accountability which will lead to a corruption-free Pakistan.