Court Puts Ministry and RnD Fund Officials on Notice

The Lahore High Court issued notices to secretary ministry of information and technology and the head of National Information and Communication Technology Research and Development Fund (NICT RDF) to submit their comments in a petition alleging initiation of different IT projects in violation of rules and regulations.

Justice Rauf Ahmed Sheikh directed the officials to submit their replies within three weeks after Javed Akhtar Malik, the general manager of Solicitation and Evaluation (NICTRDF) challenged certain projects and the appointment of the CEO of the Fund.

Making secretary ministry of information technology, chairman board of directors and CEO of the NICTRDF Dr Qasim Sheikh as respondents, the petitioner through his counsel Syed Murtaza Ali Pirzada maintained that many IT projects had been launched in violation of rules and regulations wasting huge public money.

He said the NICTRDF was created as a non-profit organization in 2005 and registered as a company aimed to promote information technology through research and development. The company is funded through different grants provided by the federal government and contribution from telecom operators.

The petitioner said the CEO had unlawfully sanctioned funds for a project, Real Time Implementation of H.264 decoder, that was a joint venture of a local university and the subsidiary of a US-based company of which he was the founder member. He said Rs 14.98 million were set aside for the project whereas similar solution could be downloaded from the internet free of cost.

The petitioner said he had informed the chairman and directors of the BoD of the company about the contractual employment of the CEO against a permanent post and him being beneficiary of an IT company as illegal but the authorities did not take any action.

The petitioner said he had even informed secretary of the ministry and the prime minister about the alleged illegalities and nepotism in the public company but no action was taken. Instead the BoD initiated action against him and issued him as a show-cause notice.

Mr. Akhtar prayed to the court to direct the authorities concerned to recover the misappropriated public money from the management of the NICT Fund and appoint an independent commission to look into all the projects approved by the CEO and his team.

Via Dawn

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