LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has received several complaints against alleged embezzlement of funds, favouritism and illegal appointments at the National College of Arts (NCA) Lahore and Rawalpindi campuses, Daily Times has learnt.According to documents a copy of which is available with Daily Times, Research Associate at NCA Rao Dilshad Ali has submitted four different applications to the NAB asking the department to probe into the matter and take actions against culprits. The four applications mention two projects awarded to the NCA, ‘illegal appointment of a foreigner, illegal promotion of an admin officer and embezzlement of funds in printing of NCA newsletter’. Copies of these applications were also sent to Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi – who is also the controlling authority of NCA –Cabinet Division secretary and the Establishment Division secretary. Earlier, several cases of embezzlement of funds and nepotism involving NCA Principal Dr Murtaza Jaffri were reported but no action was taken. Dr Murtaza was granted an extension by the prime minister after the court ordered him to release his office on completion of five-year tenure as the college’s principal. The first application talks about the two projects, GPO Murree and Punjab House, for which the NCA was paid. The bureau was requested to probe into the travel allowance issued and investigate the comparison of profit against expenditures. The application was filed against alleged illegal promotion of Admin Officer Saleem Butt. The bureau was told that Saleem Butt was hired as office superintendent but he was appointed admin officer due to favouritism. In his application, the complainant stated that Saleem Butt was made admin officer in violation of rules. It was said that the minimum education criterion for the said post was master’s degree in business administration or public administration along with five year relevant experience but Saleem Butt had done LLB. Another application regarding ‘illegal” appointment of a foreigner had asked NAB to inquire into the appointment of Iranian national Islmael Arbab as maintenance and restoration officer at NCA without prior approval of security agencies. The application said that the NCA Act does not allow appointment of any foreigner to the college without security clearance from security agencies. “But in case of Ismael Arbab, Principal Dr Murtaza Jaffri had violated all the rules.”The application added that Ismael Arbab took admission to NCA in master of visual arts programme and after completing his degree, he was appointed maintenance and restoration officer by Principal Dr Murtaza Jaffri.When contacted for confirmation of complaints, NAB Lahore Spokesperson Zeeshan said confirmed that NAB had received multiple complaints against the NCA. Asked if the bureau has launched inquiry, he said, “Whenever we receive an application we determine whether the case comes under our domain or not. If the embezzled amount is Rs 100 million or more then we move on to the next step, which is complaint verification.”He added, “In the next step we will write a letter to the department concerned, seeking details of seek relevant documents. If anything will be revealed at the complaint verification level then the case will be forwarded to inquiry level.” Published in Daily Times, January 13th 2017.