In a significant turn of events, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has made headlines by terminating the employment of a whistleblower, Deputy Director Dr. Mohammad Aleem Akhtar. This decision marks the second instance in less than three years where an officer at DRAP has been dismissed following allegations of corruption and irregularities within the organization. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the details, allegations, and implications of this case, shedding light on the intricacies of the DRAP whistleblower scandal.
The DRAP Whistleblower – Dr. Mohammad Aleem Akhtar
Dr. Mohammad Aleem Akhtar, a Deputy Director at DRAP, came under the spotlight due to his whistleblowing activities. He raised concerns about irregularities within the organization and made startling allegations against his superiors, including the CEO of DRAP.
Dr. Akhtar sent a total of 44 letters to various prominent offices, including the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), making unsubstantiated claims of malpractice within DRAP. These allegations caused significant embarrassment to DRAP and the entire pharmaceutical industry of Pakistan.
Misuse of Official Letterheads
Another serious allegation against Dr. Akhtar was his use of DRAP’s official letterheads for his correspondence without proper authorization. This unethical practice further escalated the controversy surrounding his actions.
The Show-Cause Notice
When a show-cause notice was issued, Dr. Akhtar requested a personal hearing. Subsequently, he further requested a personal hearing with the DRAP Policy Board to present his case and defend his actions.
Termination of Employment
Following a comprehensive evaluation of the entire situation, the appointing authority made the decision to terminate Dr. Akhtar’s employment. The reasons for this termination were based on the Efficiency and Discipline (E and D) Rules of 2020.
The CEO’s ‘Benami’ Pharmaceutical Company
In May of this year, Dr. Akhtar alleged that the CEO of DRAP was operating a ‘benami’ pharmaceutical company, indicating a clear conflict of interest. He also claimed that the CEO had been involved in several irregularities since his appointment as the deputy drugs controller in BPS-18 in 2002.
Dr. Akhtar contended that government officers were not permitted to take study leave without completing five years of service. Yet, the CEO, just two years after his appointment in 2004, went to the USA for a study leave to pursue a Ph.D., which was in violation of the Civil Servant Study Rules of 1996.
The 2020 Whistleblower Case
In a previous case in 2020, DRAP witnessed the dismissal of a grade-18 officer, Dr. Obaid Ali, who had made public allegations of malpractice within DRAP and the ministry. Dr. Ali had claimed that his removal was against the established rules and occurred without proper cross-questioning regarding the allegations he had raised. However, the ministry maintained that all necessary requirements had been met before his termination.
Implications of the DRAP Whistleblower Scandal
The termination of Dr. Mohammad Aleem Akhtar and the previous case of Dr. Obaid Ali have raised important questions about the functioning and transparency of DRAP. It has also cast a spotlight on the accountability mechanisms within the organization. These cases have significant implications for the pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan and the government’s efforts to combat corruption.
The DRAP whistleblower scandal involving Dr. Mohammad Aleem Akhtar highlights the complex issues surrounding whistleblowing and accountability within the organization. It serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining transparency and adhering to established rules and regulations. As these cases continue to unfold, it is crucial for DRAP to address the allegations and ensure that the pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan operates with the highest standards of integrity and ethics.