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Tribal disaster management body steeped in disasters.

PESHAWAR -- As the monsoon rains continue putting lives and properties at stake in the region, the FDMA seems to be going through an internal storm of sorts, leaving millions at the mercy of natural calamities.

An inquiry report prepared by the governor's inspection team (GIT) on the malpractices and maladministration in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) paints a gloomy picture of its internal affairs.

The GIT found malpractices and maladministration in the body responsible for responding to natural disasters in the tribal areas, including illegal recruitments and funds embezzlement.

However, none of these issues would have ever come to light unless a woman officer in the authority had not been brave enough to file a complaint about the harassment she was facing.

'At the moment, the FDMA does not look like a government organisation. Everything is in a shambles, officers are without a proper job description, recruitments are carried out without observing codal formalities, planning for implementation of the project is poor,' states the GIT's report.

The GIT had submitted its report to the K-P governor over a month ago, but action has yet to be taken based on its recommendations.

The GIT in its report, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, had recommended action against the FDMA Director General Sirajul Haq and Deputy Programme Manager Sikandar Ali under the Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010, for threatening and harassing a female employee and then removing her from the authority.

The female employee, who was serving as a specialist in a project funded by Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) in FDMA, was the same one who had filed the complaint against the FDMA officials.

The FDMA comments submitted in response to complaints to the ACS were not convincing thus the ACS moved a summary to the governor with recommendations for an in-depth fact-finding inquiry through the GIT.

The GIT confirmed the content of the complaint as fact and maintains that the complainant was not only threatened and harassed by two senior officials but was also unlawfully expelled from FDMA.

It adds that Sikandar, who holds the charge of assistant director (admin) FDMA and deputy project manager in the SDC supported a project does not have the requisite qualifications required for the positions as advertised including a masters degree with five years of experience in management and operations. Sikandar only holds a BTEC degree which is equivalent to a bachelors degree.

The team also found embezzlement worth Rs1 million in the SDC project and recommended its recovery.

The GIT further recommended action against the DG under the Government Servants (Efficiency and Disciplinary) Rules 2011, for making unlawful recruitments in the SDC project and also calls for cancelling the appointments made in the SDC project without observing codal formalities.

It further recommends fresh recruitments for the project in line with all legal regulations.

The GIT also noted that the incumbent director general is an officer of the audit and accounts service and recommended that he should be replaced by an officer from the administrative cadre.

The report further added that the reasons for the malpractices in FDMA are multifaceted. Since its inception in 2010, it has been running in project mode with a loose structure.

Moreover, the team, in its report, calls the authority a free entity with no supervision by the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) Secretariat nor the federal government.

The FDMA, though, continues to utilise the services of Fata Secretariat, but only for the revision of its project concept-I (PC-I) and to ensure a flow of funds. All this despite the fact that the GIT noted that it could not find any document which showed that the FDMA was administratively linked to the Fata Secretariat.

Apart from seeking funds from the government through the PC-I, it also uses funds from a variety of international donors but without any financial control from the Fata Secretariat.

Ad-hocism and posting of incompetent and irrelevant officials on political recommendations have also been declared as one of the reasons for the malpractices and corruption in the authority.

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) Additional Chief Secretary Sikandar Qayyum, who is the executing authority in the matter, was not immediately available for comments, although the GIT had been tasked to carry out a probe on his recommendation.
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Publication:The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Aug 8, 2018
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