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CIADP project controversy takes new turn

 

Chitral --Under pressure from rule violators and to save jobs the Accountant of GADO has withdrawn his objections to the controversial project saying that he has been used by this reporter to settle scores against the LSO. However work on the project has not been resumed so far.

 

All concerned are upset over the revelation that government servants are strictly barred from being associated with NGOs and political parties. For private business and self funded social work they have to seek prior permission of their departments. The Prime Minister Secretariat has also taken note of the situation and has directed Secretary Education Department Khyber Pakhtunkhaw vide u.o No. 76-EM/DS(1A-2)/10 dated 25-10-2010 to take action in the matter and intimate the results to the P.M Sectt.


This reporter was about to file his earlier report about the violation of the MOU signed between CIADP and GADO when he came across the information that Accountant of GADO has also raised this issue, which was quoted in the report as supportive material in objective journalistic spirit and there was no question of one using the other.

 

As 90% government employees particularly in the Education Department are involved in politics and NGO business one way or the other, the Accountant could not resist the pressure and took back his objections. But the matter would not rest there because the issue involved is not just the violation of one MOU, rather it is the question of upholding of rule of law and public interest.

 

The builders of our youth i.e teachers, should not be allowed to abandon their primary responsibilities just to make some extra bucks and get away with their increments by engineering good results through encouraging cheating in exams and detaining students. The culture of impunity should never be allowed in the noble profession of teaching --Islamuddin, Garam Chashma,13 Dec 2010
 

CIADP project runs into trouble

Chitral -A CIADP project, involving construction of a protective wall, to save market area around Garam Chashma has run into trouble, following serious objections raised by the Accounts Department of Garam Chashma Area Development Organization (GADO). According to information received by this reporter, the Accounts Department has written a letter to the Managing Director of CIADP informing him about the unilateral change in the MOU by the Chairman, GADO which had been signed between CIADP and the LSO. The MOU stipulated that the LSO shall provide unskilled labor and the cost of cement and skilled labor shall be met by CIADP. The LSO failed to deliver on its promise but instead of returning the money it has contracted out the work, in violation of the MOU. Insiders told this scribe that the change would undermine quality of work, because the depth of foundation and concrete- cement ratio have been reduced to provide for hired labor and contractor commission.

In his letter, obtained by this reporter, the Accountant has expressed his inability to send financial report to CIADP about the project saying that he has been kept out of the loop and all transactions are being carried out by the Chairman and his friends. Members of the LSO are unhappy over this situation and hold the Chairman responsible for compromising long term interests of the area involving millions of rupees for a small project. They believe that the money should have been returned or MOU re-negotiated in view of the failure of the LSO to mobilize the people for free of cost labor.

 

Some members even questioned the moral authority of the Chairman, saying that being a defaulter of Rs.4500/ obtained through members of a women organization, and after having been voted out from his cluster he was ineligible to become Chairman. As no contestant had the courage to challenge his candidature the election authority had no choice except to accept his nomination papers. After his election the first thing he did was to disband an expert advisory and oversight committee, comprising eminent personalities of the area including a provincial minister, to pave way for motivated and whimsical decision making.

 

The Chairman, however, pointed out that being a founder member of GADO he is entitled to its directorship for as long as he wishes and the EDO (Education) has allowed him to work for AKRSP and IUCN and as such Discipline and Conduct rules under the Civil Servants Act 1973 do not apply in his case and the powers he is exercising in GADO have been given to him by its Board of Directors who lack necessary expertise in this behalf. He says that his powers are the clearly mentioned in the rules of the LSO duly approved by its BOD but no one has answer to the question as to whether the BOD rules can over-ride the MOU and Bye-laws approved by the registering authority-Registrar Joint Stock Companies. --From our correspondent, Garam Chashma Chitral, 05 Dec 2010


Comment 1
Apropos your report on this topic let me tell you that for membership in NGOs no departmental permission is necessary because Government servants are strictly banned from joining NGOs under the Civil Servants Act 1973. The relevant provision of the law says “The Government of Pakistan has considered the desirability or otherwise of serving Government servants being associated with Private Trusts, Foundations and similar other institutions which are not sponsored by the Government itself, and have decided that no serving Government employee should associate himself with any such association or organization”.

 

With regard to membership in self funded social welfare institution the Rule says Membership in such associations are allowed provided the employee informs his immediate superior” On the subject of working for political parties Rule 23 of the Civil Servants Conduct Rules Government servants are strictly prohibited” from taking part in, or subscribe in aid of, or assisting in any way’ any political party or movement.

In view of the above the revelation of Chairman GADO that AKRSP or IUCN have obtained permission for him to work in NGOs sponsored by them, makes all concerned guilty for the breach of law and therefore liable for action. Some of the teachers are even working for political parties holding their conventions and meetings, lobbying for membership, speaking in their meetings and stage appearance. Such employees are liable for summary dismissal under the law but so far no action has been taken in any one case despite complaints.

 

 This culture of lethargy and impunity has taken its toll on the quality of governance in Chitral and elsewhere. It is time for action before it is too late. The NGOs, which are otherwise doing great jobs, should guard against being caught on the wrong foot with reference to law and mafia control within their own organizations, who might gang up to protect each other for mutual benefit which might undermine the fair name of the donor NGOs which the new world order considers effective for development oriented social mobilization.

 

Would it be asking for too much from the Anti-corruption Department if we demand investigation to recover the money stolen from these NGOs in the name of projects by the so called development activists? This will re-establish the moral authority of donor NGOs and rid them of corrupt mafias and enable them to reposition themselves to achieve their strategic goals by working with socially and legally correct people who command respect among the people and donor community I congratulate the Accountant of GADO for picking up courage, a rare commodity nowadays, to make a difference. He might fail but the battle will go on till victory which is inevitable because otherwise we and our future generations are doomed.-- By Suhana chitrali, 07 Dec 2010

 

Comment 2

 It is with reference to the press conference of GADO high ups at Chitral Press Club yesterday, in which they have denied violation of the MOU signed with CIADP saying that labour is being provided free of cost. This assertion is unabashed and brazen lie and the reporter stands by his story. GADO action to suspend its upright Accountant today for pointing out the irregularities should be food for thought for all right thinking people. The presence of CIADP officials during the firming up meeting for this action speaks volumes for the way things are handled. The Accountant should be well advised to seek legal remedy. He should have been awarded not punished.

GADO has failed to provide cost free labour and has engaged hired labour and have probably paid them some part of the amount after drawing advance from GADO or CIADP funds. However after the press conference there is a possibility that labour cost will be paid through the community savings lying with GADO as was done in the case of CLRC, a project donated by AKESP with identical MOU. In this case also GADO failed to mobilize the people for free of cost labour and diverted public savings worth about half a million rupees to meet the labour cost and got away with it and the CLRC still remains partly operational and its expensive equipments are rusting and depreciating in value. The people reserve the right to recover this money from the Directors of GADO, if necessary through court of law.

This reporter is under pressure to shut up or else this money will go back and I would be responsible for this. My assertion is that there can be no sustainable development without transparency. So far we have spent money for the sake of spending and not for sustainable development which has given birth to the culture of impunity which is harming our long term interests and fair name. --Report by Islamuddin, Garam Chashma 09 Dec 2010.

 

Comment 3

With reference to the letter on CIADP project first of all i would like to appreciate the learned writer Mr Islamuddin for pin pointing the facts about the mishandling of funds by the GADO high ups which are given for the welfare and development of Garam chashma valley.This is the actual way to make the general public fight for their rights. .If these type of high handedness by our local leaders are not disclosed,how can we move forward . .I would request all the notables of the area to put hands together in this regard and get rid off these mafias from all local NGOs, in the betterment and prosperity of the general public..

Secondly, i also appreciate the bold step taken by the accountant for bringing into public notice the harsh realities about the NGO. You may loose your job which is not a big deal.You may find even better job than this but the sacrifice you did will never be forgotten by the people of Garam chashma.These sort of actions act as a role model for the upcoming generation and boost up the morale of those who think better for their area..

''Enough is enough', 'We have already suffered a lot,now. It is the time to come together and stand against these negative elements, existing in our community. Still we have time,we can bring the change which is required but nothing can be done once the water passes under the bridge..Its not only GADO where these activities exist but we can find these almost in all organizations through out chitral,wether it be education,health or any other welfare organization.These are the biggest hurdles in the development of of our area.

Lastly i would suggest the people of Garam chashma, the Provincial minister and the sincere members of GADO (if there are any) to raise their voice and take firm action against the involved group. This is the way you prove your devotion with the area and your interest in the development of the region --Sharif uddin, Islamabad, 10 Dec 2010

 

Comment 4

I would like to respond to the letter and comments regarding CIADP Project in Chitral.

In developing nations, NGO's are playing a vital role in different sectors including Education, Health and Rural Development. There is a long operating cycle between the time when the funds are allocated by any developed nation or its agency and it is actually disbursed or utilised on any specific project in any specific area. The major stakeholder in this cycle is the primary donor, who allocates and grants the funds. Donors normally follow a strict procedure while sub-contracting and the agreement of Donor agency and Sub-contractor (not the MOU) includes audit clauses, oversight clauses and much more.

The letter and comments on your esteemed online news site show only one side of the coin. We dont exactly know the opinion of the other side. On the basis of my understanding of International Donors, NGO's and other development agencies I can easily say that things cannot be as wrong as are told. The donors will be monitoring the project's progress and they will eventually carry out an independent audit and will act upon the findings, unless a collusion occurs, where the donor agency and the local partner commit a fraud together.

I dont know for sure, but if ego and self-interest threat is playing a part in creating this story i will urge to avoid that. If I may say, rules of public service, ethics and moral will not carry strength if uttered by a former civil servant who worked under a Dictator who ruled for 9 years without any Law or Constitution and even today the people of his area cry loud that he didn't do anything for his homeland while in power. An example of who did could be the Great PMG of village Booni. Most of us are living in glass house and one stone hurled on anyone else could attract thousand stones at our own glass walls. --Jehanzeb Ali, Peshawar, 16 Dec 2010

 

Comment 5
Please refer to discussion about the CIADP project and other Donor projects in Garam Chashma area implementing through local LSO GADO. Being a native of the area and working with an NGO, I feel there is much more to improve and change the working style and board’s member of GADO.

 

I am not against any one or have conflict among the board’s members and staff of GADO. What Islamauddin wrote and what other are commenting on this issue, but I have my own experience and expectation with GADO. GADO’s major objective is to identify the development needs, assessment of it, planning accordingly, implement the project in this way the out come will visible and measureable. The donor as well as the people of the area will see the progress.

 

 When I am looking back since the formation of the GADO there is no such success and visible achievement as compared to projects they had exercised. The reason behind was inefficient boards members, staff, lacking of planning, lacking of experience manpower in development sector, politics within boards, ignorance of trained and experience people etc.

 

The same thing is going on as was previously being practiced. How can  it  work efficiently? When a shop keeper or school teacher are leading the organization. This not a school or a business oriented organization where they require such expertised people. Now this is the time to change the board and hand over to such people who know the working environment of development sector. Then it might be help the area and satisfy the donors otherwise it damages the people's expectations as also AKRSP's image. --Aftab Ali Baig, Garam Chashma, 20 Dec 2010

 

Comment 6

With reference to the subject, I would like to add some points please. Identifying the misdeeds in a society and raising voice against it is a symbol of a civilized, educated and dutiful citizen. If someone is highlighting such issues for the sake of the development of poor and undeveloped society, then It should be appreciated rather than personalize the issue. Islamuddin is an educated and respected member of the society, so he is doing what an educated and committed person is suppose to do.

On the basis of past experience regarding the fraudulence of funds by the management of LSO’s, we want to see no space for such dishonesty again and again in the hilly bounded atmosphere of Garumchashma. If still there is mismanagement of funds, how the GADO’s high ups will respond to the CO members particularly to the mothers of the valley, who have sold onions and eggs to establish the fund and to develop the community! --Nisar Ahmad Shah, Garam Chashma 22 Dec 2010

 

Comment 7
Plato once said that people get leaders that they deserve and they are mirrors in which people see themselves. Going by this maxim we have nothing to be proud of. With a few recent exceptions, our leadership has proved to be a rotten lot. The silver lining, however, is that public conscience is slowly rising from deep slumber, which is borne out by the comments appearing in these pages in response to our first report. One of these reports,(by Jahanzaib Ali) however, betrays common sense in as much as the writer holds me guilty of working with military dictators. He should have known that civil servants are supposed to implement Govt. policies faithfully, while governments are chosen or appointed by the people and impose them on conscientious civil servants, who either have to fight them or take a flight. I made my own choices. The writer also defends the donor NGOs by saying that they have fool proof system of accountability mechanism but he fails to quote a single instance when this mechanism was pressed into action. If the taste of pudding is in the eating then the present debate should bear me out.


When the controversy of the CIADP project erupted, the Accountant, Mr Mazhar Ali was pressurized and intimidated to tender apology and shift the responsibility onto this reporter, which he did only to be removed the next day through an emergency BOD meeting citing the letter of apology as admission of guilt. This smacks of a conspiracy which was well planned and it started with the voting out of Muhammad Wali as Director of GADO by his cluster and his replacement by Itibar Khan who won the election on the promise that he would audit accounts of the cluster, where the people suspected embezzlement worth more than a million rupees. A few years back during audit in this cluster Muhammad Wali fell sick due to mental cause and was shifted to Karachi for treatment and the matter is pending since then. Now the Accountant was under pressure from the elected Director Itibar Khan to restart the audit which he could not do without the approval of the Chairman who happens to be Muhammad Wali. What a joke that a PTC teacher heading a leading NGO which in time would replace AKRSP.


Muhammad Wali gate crashed into the BOD saying that AKRSP had promised two directorships to his cluster. He successfully pressurized the then Chairman GADO to administer him oath of office. He later successfully lobbied to vote out the incumbent Chairman with the help of the Accountant whom he promised career growth in return for his help. The Accountant himself requested me not to entertain objections to the candidature of Muhammad Wali for the position of Chairman GADO. I refused to oblige him as Chairman Election Authority saying that the person was a Govt. employee and a defaulter. But I had no so motto power to disqualify him. Therefore if no one objected to his candidature, I will have to accept his nomination. As happens in mafiacracy no one objected to his candidature and he entered GADO through back door as Chairman.


After election the first thing he did was to disband an independent oversight committee. Secondly he took away financial powers and cheque books from the Accountant and went on a solo flight triggering the present crises. Now he has cleverly obtained confession statement from the Accountant before sacking him. This action preceded visits of CIADP and AKRSP high ups to GADO giving rise to the possibility of complicity which may not be true. It is, therefore, not surprising that despite having spent billions of rupees by the NGOs and Govt. agencies sustainable and meaningful development of Chitral still remains a distant dream. One can easily have a glimpse of the abject poverty and culture of impunity, if one can visit distribution points of relief goods following the recent floods. Ironically Chairman GADO has his hands in this pie as well and there are widespread allegations of mismanagement, pilferage and favouritism.


The Accountant of GADO was blackmailed and trapped to weaken his case for legal remedy. But on substantial issues the case still remains potent and is capable of sending many to jails with fines and even liquidation. This is a lawless LSO which has made the rules and operating procedures of the registering authority as laughing stocks by using BOD as a bull dozer under the very nose of AKRSP who has failed to inject sanity and legality into the LSO.

 

If there is still time to turn things around AKRSP will have to put its foot down, disband the BOD and appoint administrator for clean up operations including recovery of defaulted loans, which accordingly to some estimates runs into Rs.5 million, locate responsibility for the misappropriation of CIF funds given by NRSP(which instead of going to women in micro loans as per MOU ended up with connected people and are probably on default)CLRC loan(lent illegally from unspendable public savings) , non operational Gemstone and Sewing centres, non holding of proper AGMs as per law, improper election of Directors, non approval of audit reports by AGM and many other irregularities. If this option is difficult, AKRSP may stop salary support for GADO staff and let the LSO to generate its own funds to become sustainable and not a parasite which it has now become and by extension has made the entire community parasite as well.

 

Any further sleeping over this case may lead to legal action which might have serious consequences for every one. Institutions should speak through their performance and not paid press conferences. Genuine institutions admit their mistakes but those with skeletons in their cupboards try to cover up their mistakes and in the process lose good opportunities to improve. We do not need development at the cost of our self esteem, honesty and healthy social fabric. By pushing the people to the wall we run the risk of creating anarchic under currents which we may not be able to control.--Islamuddin, Garam Chashma 23 Dec 2010.
 

 

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