FIA investigates ‘fraudulent’ withdrawal of 15m rupees from LUH account
HYDERABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is investigating the withdrawal of around 15 million rupees from the bank account of Liaquat Teaching Hospital in August and September 2022.
The FIA intervened at the request of the LUH medical superintendent, Dr Hafeez Abro, regarding the alleged fraud. The MS recently proceeded on leave.
FIA Additional Director Wasi Hyder confirmed to Dawn in his office that an investigation was indeed underway although it has yet to be finalized by the investigator.
Dr Abro had sent two letters to the FIA in Hyderabad, one of which, dated September 17, informed him that an amount of 12.58 million rupees had been fraudulently withdrawn between August 4, 2002 and August 30 through 11 attempts in favor of a woman, Tehmina. Abd.
He said LUH management informed the manager of the relevant bank branch outside the hospital and asked the FIA to investigate the matter. Through the second letter dated September 19, the MS claimed that an amount of Rs 2,352,446 was withdrawn from the same account between September 8 and 15. He sought recovery of the amount after an investigation. The name of the beneficiary of this amount was not mentioned in the letter.
The LUH administration uses the account to keep call deposits from different suppliers, who participate in auctions for dietetic products from the hospital and other sources. His additional MS, Dr Shahid Islam Junejo, has been appointed as the focal point to follow the case. He also confirmed to Dawn that such an investigation is ongoing. Some progress in withdrawing funds from LUH through fraudulent means has been made, he added.
He said the checks in question were for money orders from four different member states of the hospital.
The information obtained by Dawn revealed that 16 checks were used for the withdrawal of the sums. Among them, five checks were signed by the Medical Superintendent and Chief Medical Officer at the time, while 11 checks were signed by the Additional EM and the Director of Administration, Accounts and Development of the era.
A hospital source claimed fake checks were used by a woman and bank officials failed to verify them. He said a check appeared to be as old as 2018 and was surprisingly enshrined in August 2022.
The audits covered different periods during which four medical superintendents – Dr. Siddique Pahore, Dr. Mubashir Kolachi, Dr. Shahid Islam Junejo and Dr. Abdul Hafeez Abro – held office, but the director’s administration remained the even since then.
Tehmina Abid, whose name was mentioned in the September 17 letter of inquiry, allegedly received the amount of Rs 12.58 million while the other amounts withdrawn were received by some men.
These sums were taken from Karachi, Sukkur, Lahore and Rawalpindi, the hospital source said.
According to an FIA source, an account from the Diagnostic and Research Laboratory (DRL) of Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) was also active on behalf of the LMCH.
“For the withdrawal of this amount, the bank staff made a confirmation on a telephone number of the laboratory according to the record available from the bank in accordance with the bank’s reminder information policy (CBC), ” the source said.
A fake checkbook with all modern bank codes was prepared while the original checkbooks were with the LUH administration.
“The case has become complicated at the moment and many questions remain unanswered. The original checkbook is with LUH,” a source said.
“It’s to be seen if things were handled from the hospital side or the bank side,” the source said.
An FIA investigator is likely to visit the hospital and its diagnostic laboratory to record statements from the officers involved.
Posted in Dawn, November 4, 2022