Fida Wazir becomes dormant in spite of continuous notices

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ISLAMABAD,   (Parliament Times) : In pursuance of a reference filed by Pakistan Information Commission, the Federal Investigation Agency has initiated inquiry against the former Managing Director Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Fida Wazir for alleged tempering in the Board’s minutes of meeting, Parliament Times learnt.

Sources informed that Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has issued notices to the former MD Pakistan Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Fida Wazir to record his statement about the alleged tempering in the 37th Board meeting.

The inquiry is initiated after Pakistan Information Commission, sent a reference to the FIA, to probe to investigate whether the discrepancy between the documents made available by PPRA to this commission and their copies circulated by PPRA to its Board Members constitutes an offence under Section 22 (1) (d) and (2) of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017, and, any resultant unlawful hiring or termination of PPRA employees.

The commission in an order on Appeal No 455-08/20 titled Saima Tasneem Vs PPRA Board Members has held that copies of the 37th Board minutes of meeting submitted by the representatives of Cabinet Division and PPRA Board Members were different than those made available to this commission by PPRA clearly suggests that powers pertaining to the recruitment of employees were unlawfully delegated to MD, PPRA. As such, Secretary, Cabinet Division, as head of controlling body of PPRA and Secretary, Finance, as Chairman of PPRA Board need to determine the factors behind this discrepancy and ensure that this matter is neither covered-up nor brushed under the carpet.

PIC in its order stated that this commission is of the view that this is not a matter of mere error and omission but an extremely serious matter of unlawful appropriation of powers through tampering of official records. As such, it has serious consequences for PPRA employees and its functioning as an important regulatory body, established to ensure judicious utilizations of public funds in public procurements. This commission hopes that it is only a one-off case and not a trend.

The commission observed that this is prima facie a case of destruction or, tampering of official records, or both. As such, it needs to be investigated as an offence under Section 22 (1) (d) and (2) of the Right of Access to Information Act.

Section 22 (2) of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017 states, “In addition to any other action that may be taken under any other law for the time being in force, any person who willfully destroys a record which at the time it was destroyed was the subject of an application for access to information which is the subject of an application or appeal, with the intention of preventing its disclosure under this Act, commits an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which shall not be less than one hundred thousand rupees or with both”.

Order further states, as such, this commission is obligated to refer all record on the file to relevant agencies as required under Section 20 (1) (h) of the Act which states, “the information commission after determination of willful destruct of record shall refer such matters to the relevant agencies”.

Despite repeated attempts Fida wazir neither responded to the questions sent to him nor gave his version on the phone.

This commission is of the view that this matter needs to be thoroughly investigated by Director General, Federal Investigation Agency, (FIA). The commission hopes that if FIA investigation determines that the documents have been tempered with for nefarious ends, those involved will be brought to justice, order maintain.