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Doctors, nurses fleeced in fake diploma scam  

ISLAMABAD: A multi-million rupees scam has landed in the Prime Minister’s Office showing how hundreds of doctors, nurses and managers of clinical laboratories all over Pakistan were tricked and fleeced by the top gun of a government-run organisation, the Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC), who signed unauthorised MoU with an NGO, which after charging heavy fees from these innocent victims, issued diplomas to all of them, which did not carry any legal status.  

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has been informed by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) that the man whom he had appointed in BPS-21 on contract for three years in 2008, has now been found involved in a unique fraud with the doctors, nurses and medial professionals.  

These illegal diplomas were issued to these professionals after claiming in press advertisements that they were “accredited by the PNAC in  Pakistan and were accepted the world over,” which was not the case.  

The ministry has urged PM Gilani to terminate the services of the DG PNAC and order an investigation into the scam. The intriguing aspect of the scam is that several Pakistani professionals have already gone abroad using these unauthorised diplomas.  

Talking to our sources, Minister for Science and Technology Azam Swati confirmed the scam, saying it had already been brought into the notice of PM Gilani. He said he was also forwarding this scam to the FIA for further probe against the DG PNAC.  

The official summary sent to the prime minister says Shaukat Hussain, who was appointed the PNAC director general in BPS 21, signed the MoU with an NGO, Institute of Health and Management Sciences (IHMS), which used official logos to claim that it awarded diplomas accredited and approved by the PNAC and that “its certificates are accepted worldwide.”  

The NGO offered a total of 24 courses for doctors, practitioners and general public from public health to hospital management, laboratory accreditation, clinical laboratory quality manager, cardiology, anaesthesia, clinical nutrition, maternal and child health, sports medicines, urology, hospital accreditation, child health, nursing assistance, emergency medical technician, sanitary inspector, nursing management and primary health care, etc.  

The summary said the misleading advertisements placed in the press attracted many innocent health practitioners to register for these courses. Heavy fees were charged from the applicants who were awarded diplomas or certificates, though the NGO was not authorised to issue such certificates. The Health Ministry took serious note of the advertisements and wrote a letter to the Ministry of Science and Technology, asking it to stop the IMHS from issuing such certificates.  

Meanwhile, a number of complaints were received against this fraud and an inquiry conducted by a joint technological adviser, a PBS 21 officer, found Shaukat Hussain involved in the scam. The summary sent to PM Gilani pointed out that several irregularities detected in the affairs established moral, intellectual and financial dishonesty in performing duties by Shaukat as the head of an organisation. “This conduct of DG warrants immediate action on the part of its ministry to rectify the situation,” the summary said.  

DG PNAC Shaukat Hussain, in his statement before the inquiry team, however, defended his position. He said it was true that no prior approval was obtained as per the requirement of the MoU before issuing the press advertisements and he had stopped them from this practice. He said the MoU signed with the institute was of general nature, which was similar to other MoUs signed by the PNAC with other government and private organisations previously. Shaukat said the PNAC did not have a detailed record of these certificates. The DG PNAC denied sending any letter to the Foreign Office to accept his signature for verification of these certificates.