KARACHI: National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) Executive Director Dr Syed Nadeem Qamar is the highest-earning government officer in the province.
Last month, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) raided the office of the hospital’s executive director over an inquiry into employees being given salaries in advance and purchase of medicines and medical equipment. The anti-graft watchdog checked its financial records, questioned officials, gathered relevant documents and returned after more than five hours.
NAB initiated an inquiry and has sought the complete record and original and certified copies of structural formation of NICVD, year-wise strength and appointments made in different cadres, including regular, contractual, contingency and daily wages based posts during the last ten years.
A document detailing the salaries of hospital staff revealed he was receiving a salary package of Rs6.2 million per month, making him the highest paying government and cardiologist in the country.
Dr Qamar is one of the most renowned cardiologists who has been serving at the NICVD for 24 years. He is a Grade-21 officer. According to the document dating 2018, the management at NICVD make the highest salaries while Dr Qamar is making approximately five times more than a Grade-20 officer.
NAB had issued follow-up notices and summoned four hospital officials in the case including Dr Qamar, and directors Malik Nasarullah, Haider Awan and Azra Maqsood. The Sindh High Court (SHC) them granted interim pre-arrest protective bail among fifteen others in the case related to illegal appointments.
NICVD offers free of cost services to thousands of cardiac patients from all over the country and has been claimed as a success story by the PPP under its health reform programme. However, the financial resources and highly paid executive staff have come under question from political rivals.
PTI leader in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Shaikh has levelled serious allegations against the financial affairs of the NICVD, He said a retired person was appointed as head of the NICVD on political grounds receiving Rs6.5 million salary per month. He said the NICVD is under Rs16 billion debt and an amount of Rs40,000 from each angioplasty procedure is deposited into a special pool which is distributed to the accounts of the executive director and other officials.
The raid had led to a strong reaction from the ruling PPP which calling it a move to “hijack” the “best public sector hospital” from the Sindh government. PPP parliamentary leader Senator Sherry Rehman said NICVD is one of the best public service hospitals in Pakistan which is now being targeted. She had questioned the purpose of the NAB raid when the administration was providing all information.
The NICVD in a statement had described the NAB raid as unjustified and source of stress among doctors and other staff of the institute. It said that NAB has not shared any prior information with the NICVD for any record and NAB has always been offered cooperation whenever it sought any details.