Owing to the unchecked purchase bills, the University of Karachi (KU) has recently bought a box of tissue paper for Rs2000, a sink drain pipe for Rs5,000, and two plastic jugs for Rs13,000. In the local markets, a box of tissue paper is available from Rs200 to Rs300 while a drain pipe that is normally used in a home kitchen is available from Rs150 to Rs200. However, KU has bought these items at higher prices without checking the local markets.

Apart from these items, the purchase bill which has been submitted to the finance department for clearance shows that an empty plastic drum for water was purchased for Rs45,000. In the local market, an empty plastic drum is available at prices ranging from Rs5,000 to Rs7,000. Likewise, the varsity has purchased a dozen iron core rings [washers] for Rs3,700. However, in the local market, a dozen washers along screws are available at just Rs120. The bill shows that a couple of plastic jugs have been purchased for Rs13,000 which can be bought from vendors for Rs200 or Rs250.

The list shows that a stopwatch has been purchased for Rs6,500 while the market price of a stopwatch ranges from Rs1000 to Rs1500. In addition, a 5-litre empty plastic cane has been purchased for Rs4,500 while in the local market the price of a 5-litre plastic cane is from Rs100 to Rs150. The bill includes around 15 items that were purchased at high prices as compared to local markets.

Sources said that a large portion of Karachi University’s budget is being spent on purchasing. However, a group of purchase officers and some officials of the finance department have registered fake supply companies which not only get kickbacks and commission on every purchase but also provide items with higher prices.

This lobby always opposes outsider suppliers to participate in tenders. If purchasing bills of Karachi University were thoroughly checked, dozens of such overbilling could be traced.

When Academia Magazine contacted KU to find out the authenticity of the purchase, a spokesperson confirmed and said a purchased bill was leaked to the media.

The bill which shows some items were purchased at high prices is still pending. The KU Finance Department is yet to decide whether it should be cleared or not.

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Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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