Recovery of over Rs.17 million in favour of University of Sargodha approved

Sargodha :     The President of Pakistan has approved the recovery of over Rs.17 million in favour of University of Sargodha, while upholding the Banking Ombudsman’s decision against a private bank where the previous university administration had invested over Rs.775 million by manipulating interest rates allegedly in connivance with bank officials.

Early last year, the current university management had filed a complaint with the Banking Ombudsman pointing out misappropriation in three consecutive investments made in 2015 with the private bank’s university branch.

The mode of misappropriation in each case was that the said bank would first offer the highest profit [email protected]%, kicking other banks out of competition. Then, the bank would receive university investments after a lapse of couple of weeks on the reduced negotiated rates @8.45%,@7.50% [email protected]%. These underhand deals were never brought on record.

Thus, the resulting financial loss to public exchequer remained covered up till early last year, when a special audit by the Higher Education Commission of the 8-years tenure of the former Vice Vice Chancellor, Dr Muhammad Akram Chaudhry, revealed this scam.

As per details, in January 2015, Rs.250 million were invested. Upon its maturity, the university received a profit of Rs.21.1 million @8.45% instead of Rs.26.2 [email protected]%, thereby causing a loss of Rs.5.1 million. In March 2015, Rs.400 million were invested. Upon its maturity, the university received a profit of 30.8 million @7.50% instead of Rs.42.1 [email protected]%, thereby causing a loss of Rs.11.2 million. Finally, in May 2015, Rs.125 million were invested. Upon its maturity, the university received a profit of Rs.8.2million @6.60% instead of Rs.8.8 million @7.10%, thereby causing a loss of Rs.0.6 million.

Thus, the university suffered a total loss of Rs.17 million in profits. In November 2018, the Banking Ombudsman decided in favour of the University, ordering the bank to pay back this amount to the university. The bank filed an appeal before the President, which has now been rejected.

In the past year or so, the University of Sargodha has made additional recoveries from the owners of five private sub-campuses, which are now closed, mostly through the plea bargain of the formerly arrested owners of two such unlawfully established sub-campuses in Lahore and Mandi Bahauddin with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore.
On Thursday, as first instalment, NAB Lahore handed over a cheque of Rs.94.1 million to the university Registrar, out of which Rs.53 million will be reimbursed to the twoex-sub-campuses’ students in lieu of overcharged fees. Other recoveries made or in process include the remaining bargain amount of Rs.80 million from NAB, Rs.70 million recovered from three other ex-private sub-campuses in Faisalabad and Gujranwala, and Rs.9.2 million still due from the latter. These recoveries offer further credence to the on-going NAB reference against the former Vice Chancellor, who has been behind bars since last October and his last appeal for bail against arrest having been rejected by the Supreme Court.

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