NAB orders inquiries against Rafi Peet Threater in USAID funding embezzlement

sesame street_0
sesame street_0
Written by editor

ISLAMABAD: The Executive Board of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) met with NAB Chairman Admiral (Retired) Fasih Bokhari on Wednesday

ISLAMABAD: The Executive Board of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) met with NAB Chairman Admiral (Retired) Fasih Bokhari on Wednesday
and decided to authorize two inquiries – first against the Rafi Peer Theater Workshop (RPTW) and Pakistan Children’s Television (PCTV) in a case where RPTW and PCTV were alleged of fraud, forgery, and embezzlement of around US$1 million from USAID-funded projects in Pakistan, while procuring video, sound, design, and animation equipment, etc.

According to details, one of the USAID-funded projects in Pakistan came under the spotlight, namely the Sesame Street television program. Allegations of corruption taken from the USAID Anti-fraud Hotline, compelled US authorities to stop funding this project and call for an investigation.

The issue came to the surface during a daily briefing of the State’s Department on June 5, 2012 when Mark C. Toner, Deputy Spokesperson, accepted that allegations were serious enough that US authorities wanted to suspend or cut off the Sesame Street program until US authorities were able to complete this investigation.

However, nobody in Pakistan or the United States was ready to share what the allegations are. In the past, when contacted, a USAID spokesperson in Washington, DC, explained the situation stating, “USAID takes all allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse of US funding very seriously and takes actions to suspend or halt programs, investigate claims, and if needed, seek reimbursement for US funding.

“USAID was made aware of potential fraud and abuse of Rafi Peer Theater Workshop’s management of USAID funds for the Pakistan Children’s Television Project, after allegations were received through the USAID-created, anti-fraud hotline. In response to the allegations, USAID’s Office of the Inspector General launched an investigation into the allegations and found them to be credible. We then took action by terminating the project agreement with [the] Rafi Peer Theater Workshop.”

Now NAB will open this case and will share with media also what actually happened in this whole saga.

In another case the NAB Board also decided to carry on a prevention study under its A&P Division for workable recommendations to streamline the existing systems of the said Theater in terms of running such projects; second against officials of CDA in an LED light project case.

The CDA officials were accused of embezzlement of funds, loss to national exchequer, and misuse of authority in terms of awarding a contract worth Rs 8 billion to an international firm for replacing 65,000 conventional street lights with LED. The market cost of these LEDs was around Rs 1.27 billion.

In another case against Bashir Ahmad Dahar, ex-Secretary, Irrigation Department, governmnent of Sindh, the board decided to close the investigation, as allegations of assets beyond known sources of income leveled against the concerned official were proved false.

About the author


Editor in chief for eTurboNew is Linda Hohnholz. She is based in the eTN HQ in Honolulu, Hawaii.