SARGODHA   -    The President of Pakistan has approved the recovery of over Rs17 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 Rs775 million by manipulating interest rates allegedly with the connivance of bank officials.

Early last year, the UoS 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 10.50 percent profit rate, 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 of 8.45 percent, 7.50 percent and 6.60 percent. 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 eight-year tenure of former vice chancellor Dr Akram Chaudhry, revealed this scam.

As per details, in January 2015, Rs250 million were invested. Upon its maturity, the university received 8.45 percent profit of Rs21.1 million instead of 10.50 percent profit worth Rs26.2 million, thereby causing a loss of Rs5.1 million. In March 2015, Rs400 million were invested. Upon its maturity, the university received 7.50 percent profit of 30.8 million instead of 10.50 percent profit worth Rs42.1 million, thereby causing a loss of Rs.11.2 million. Finally, in May 2015, Rs125 million were invested. Upon its maturity, the university received 6.60 percent profit of Rs8.2 million instead of 7.10 percent profit worth Rs8.8 million, thereby causing a loss of Rs0.6 million.

Thus, the university suffered a total loss of Rs17 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 Rs94.1 million to the university Registrar, out of which Rs.53 million will be reimbursed to the two ex-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, Rs70 million recovered from three other ex-private sub-campuses in Faisalabad and Gujranwala, and Rs9.2 million still due from the latter.

These recoveries offer further credence to the ongoing 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.

Two commit suicide in front of trains

Two persons committed suicide by jumping in front of trains at Rahwali and Emanabad here the other day.

According to police, a youth was walking near railway line Emanbad. He suddenly came on the railway track as the train approached nearer and was crushed.

In another incident, a woman committed suicide in Rahwali by jumping in front of a train. Identity of the deceased was yet to be ascertained.

On the other hand, a youth died after falling from a tree at Wazirabad, Gujranwala. Hasnain, a resident of Sheshianwala, was plucking Jaman when he fell down. Resultantly, he received critical injuries and was rushed to hospital where he died.