Sehat cards NAB to quiz Nadra chief over Rs550m payout

Watchdog initiates probe into misappropriation of amount at the hands of authority execs

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Rana Mushtaq

Islamabad

The anti-graft watchdog has initiated a probe into the misappropriation of the Rs550 million paid to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for Punjab health initiative’s scheme of Sehat cards.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to quiz NADRA Chairman Usman Mobeen over the said matter.

An initiative launched by Punjab former chief minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif, the Punjab Health Initiative and Management Company had approached the authority for the procurement of Sehat cards on the line of the Prime Minister’s health scheme. In this lieu, the corporation paid Rs550 million to NADRA for cards that would be distributed among the needy in Punjab.

The amount, according to NAB, was misappropriated by top executives of the database authority and now calls for a detailed probe into the payment.

The company, working under the provincial health authority has also been on the graft buster’s radar for all the wrong reasons. NAB had earlier initiated a probe into the company’s own fiscal matters.

The company was set up to monitor and oversee the health initiatives started to provide facilities to the poor people of Punjab but the administration of the company deviated from their responsibilities and indulged in corruption and misappropriation of public funds.

Sources privy to the development told this scribe that Rs3 billion were earmarked for health projects including a health insurance scheme and Sehat Cards for the poor. Out of the Herculean amount, Rs1.30 billion was deposited in commercial banks, inadvertently making it sure that the amount was not spent on the purposes it was meant to be.

The documents of the company, upon initial investigation, had stated that Punjab health ministry officer disbursed Rs550 million to NADRA in order to seek its help in preparation of Sehat Cards but this amount was also wasted.

NAB sources have now stated that this amount was misappropriated by top officials of the authority.

It is pertinent to mention here that the health company is among 56 companies that were formed by the junior Sharif during his tenure. The corporation remains marred with corruption allegations and is being probed by the sleuths of the graft buster.

Now, NAB is reviewing the fact that if NADRA did receive Rs550 million, then at what cost were the cards made.

 

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