PAC Directs To Recover Rs45.7m From HEC Absconding Scholars
PAC member Barjis suggested that the Federal Investigation Agency should issue their red warrants and initiate the proceedings for bringing the absconding scholars back to Pakistan.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Tuesday to recover Rs45.7 million from six absconding PhD scholars.
In an audit report on the HEC, the Auditor General of Pakistan stated that six PhD scholars, Khurram Nadeem, Amna Shehzad, Noshaba Batool, Saima Ashfaq Khan, Saleem Jehangir, and Qamar Sultan Gohar, went abroad on the government-funded Faculty Development Programme (FDP) but never returned.
The FDP was created to encourage and reward existing faculty for developing their teaching skills in key areas of their expertise at universities chosen by the HEC. They were awarded scholarships to study physics, applied physics, business administration, mathematics, and statistics at universities in Canada and the United Kingdom.
“During the scrutiny of records, it was observed that professors were sent abroad for PhDs and fees or stipends were paid from the FDP programme,” according to the audit report. The university’s administration explained that the matter had been referred to the National Accountability Bureau for investigation.
Shaista Sohail, Executive Director of HEC, informed the PAC that the NAB had suggested filing a legal suit against these professors. She stated that the HEC had filed a case to recover the monies from these absconding scholars, and that the case was still pending.
PAC Chairman Noor Alam Khan requested that the HEC expedite the process of recovering the funds from these scholars. PAC member Barjis Tahir proposed that the Federal Investigation Agency issue their “red warrants” and initiate the proceedings for bringing the absconding scholars back to Pakistan.
In Pakistan, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is a parliamentary committee that is responsible for reviewing and reporting on the government’s financial accounts and expenditure. The PAC is composed of members of the National Assembly, the lower house of the Parliament of Pakistan, and is chaired by a member of the opposition party.
The PAC has the authority to examine the accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by the National Assembly to meet the public expenditure, and of such other accounts laid before the Assembly as the committee may think fit.