Sindh Assembly Opposition Leader Haleem Adil Sheikh checked the prices of the desks by personally visiting the local furniture markets, bought desks and took to Sindh Assembly to record protest against the provincial government for buying desks at high rates.
Sindh Assembly Opposition leader Haleem Adil Sheikh visited the furniture market in Liaquatabad to find out the rates of different desks that are bought by schools. Sheikh bought one and took it to the Sindh Assembly.
Transparency International Pakistan had approached the chief minister with the complaint that the education department was allegedly purchasing dual desks for public schools at a 320% higher rate, causing a loss of billions to the public kitty.
A dual desk is a desk attached to its own chair or bench and is often mistakenly referred to as a duel desk.
In its letter, addressed to Syed Murad Ali Shah, the TIP said the Sindh School Education & Literacy Department (SELD) had awarded four contracts on June 10, 2021, for the "supply & delivery of duel [dual] desks in public sector schools of Sindh" worth Rs5 billion at rates that varied between Rs23,985 per desk and Rs29,500 per desk, inclusive of all taxes.
Transparency disclosed that the previous tenders for the same procurement of the dual desk furniture were invited by the SELD, Government of Sindh, two years ago, precisely on February 17, 2019, for a smaller quantity.
"The lowest evaluated tender prices received from responsive bidders for these tenders varied between Rs5,700 and Rs 6,860 per desk, inclusive of all taxes. However, the School Education & Literacy Department for unknown reasons did not award the contracts."
Haleem Adil Sheikh said that former Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani was responsible for buying the desks at the high rates. He also said that people who were in the Sindh government were living lavish lives at the expense of the poor.
The PTI had written a letter to the chief minister, taking the matter into his notice that the provincial education department was allegedly purchasing dual desks for public schools at a 320% higher rate, he said, adding that the chief minister was urged to take action against the officers of the department concerned and the contractors for causing a loss of billions of rupees to the exchequer.
He also asked the Supreme Court and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to conduct a large-scale investigation into the alleged corruption in the purchase of the school desks. The residents of Sindh, he said, were fed up with “the provincial government’s corruption and manipulations."
The Sindh government, he said, had decided to shut down 10,000 ghost schools across the province, pointing out that the chief minister and provincial education minister should find out who built these ghost schools in the first place.