Dr David Gosling
Pakistan Christian Post
I wish to respond to the letter from the Revd Rashid Nazir, diocesan secretary of the Diocese of Peshawar, relating to the embezzlement of 6 crores rupees (half a million pounds sterling) from Edwardes Coillege, Peshawar, prior to and during my principalship. I attach relevant documents in support of what I say.
It is not correct for Mr Nazir to say that my "services were terminated by the Board of Governors of Edwardes College Peshawar ... the Provincial Governor being the Chair". The Governor left early and did not return. Only four out of thirteen full Board members remained and throughout their discussion of my contract I was sitting outside the room. Not only was the Governor not present, but when the British High Commissioner subsequently spoke to him about me, he knew nothing about my termination, but said he would find out (see email from HE Adam M. Thomson, UK High Commissioner, dated 18.10.10). During the early part of the Board meeting prior to his departure, the Governor spoke very highly of my work. He was also still present when the Board unanimously decided that the National Accountability Bureau be asked to recover the embezzled money. Why was this never done once I had left?
I am pleased that Mr Nazir admits in writing that the four Board members decided to terminate me "with immediate effect", because under Pakistani law that is illegal. A "show-cause" notice must first be served and reasons given. In fact Mr Nazir is the first person to tell me why I was terminated – almost three years after I have left! It is also unconstitutional because the College Constitution states that a principal may only be terminated on the basis of three months' notice. Clearly I had to be got rid of quickly because I could incriminate those responsible for the embezzlement.
The college lawyer told me that I could get a Stay Order against my termination, but before he could do this a representative of the Diocese threatened him with violence were he to do so. In Peshawar that means an office firebomb which will destroy essential legal records. It was also a threat of violence by proxy to me, which is why I left. I have been informed by a former Peshawar diocesan treasurer that Humphrey Peters has on occasion invoked the Taliban to get rid of somebody he disliked.
Mr Nazir casts doubt on my claim to have involved Military Intelligence (MI). I met Lt General Masood Aslam, the Corps Commander, in the course of my duties, and told him that the court case against the four accused embezzlers had been terminated before all the evidence had been heard. He initiated an MI inquiry and the investigator came to see me and another member of college the day before I left. He told me that the evidence clearly incriminated the college bursar/diocesan treasurer. His report was sent to the Governor on 23.10.10, as is confirmed in a letter dated 13.10.11 to me from the Corps Commander's Office (attached).
Mr Nazir asks why the bursar/diocesan treasurer was not named in the original First Information Report (FIR), and why I did not accuse him during my four-and-a-half-hour court testimony. Former Bishop Mano Rumalshah was present when we decided on whom to name in lodging the FIR, and he contacted the Chief of Police. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) came in because Post Office workers were involved. As is normal in my court presentation my role was not to accuse anybody but to provide relevant facts to enable the court to reach a decision.
As Mr Nazir states, one of the accused, Mr Haroon Shahid, admitted his guilt. He was given a ten-year prison sentence but was released within months after I left. When I met him earlier he told me that if he had given evidence to the court he would have accused the bursar, Kanwal P. Isaacs, and also some senior college staff who were complicit in the embezzlement. This was confirmed by former vice-principal Mr Mushtak, who explained that Haroon often offered to pay more from people's Post Office accounts than was deducted from their statements. The college Deputy Finance Officer confirmed this. This would explain why the teaching staff representative wanted rid of me. The senior vice-principal, Mr Nasim Haider, who would have stood up for me, was wrongly excluded from the Board meeting by the Governor's Section Officer.
Mr Nazir's comments about the Auditors' Report at the Board meeting are simply wrong. The auditor present drew attention to a mismatch between money deducted in advance from the college by the bursar for the builder, which the builder never received. The Board as a whole and especially the provincial finance officer acknowledged their failure to monitor the accounts adequately, and it was pointed out that for at least seven years - long before I came - the bursar had failed to present the auditors' management letter to the Board.
Subsequent to the bursar's suspension at the direction of the Governor at an earlier meeting, and his arrest, many financial irregularities were found in the college accounts. The FIA discovered that my signature had been forged to enable payments to be made from the college to the diocese
- one, for example, for the former bishop's travel. I was also told of a major embezzlement in the diocesan pension fund. No money from either embezzlement has been recovered.
Far from being - as Mr Nazir claims - a principal who was "incompetent, inefficient, and incapable", I was the one who put a stop to seven to ten years of continuous financial corruption. I appointed a totally new finance team while managing the academic and social affairs of the college during an extremely dangerous period of social unrest. In extending my contract on behalf of the Board several months before I left, Bishop Mano Rumalshah stated that I had "led the college through the most dangerous period in its history" (letter of 14.09.09, attached).
So why the change in attitude towards the end of my time if not to save a handful of corrupt people from the consequences of their wrongdoing?
David L. Gosling (Revd Dr)
University of Cambridge