LAHORE - The Camp Jail, also known as ‘Golden Duck’, is major source of corruption among prisons circles in Punjab
A former superintendent of the said jail, who was suspended on the directions of Chief Minister’s secretariat, was allegedly involved in collecting Rs10 millions per month as gratification, well placed sources in the Prisons department confided to The Nation.
Sources say that the said officer was made an officer on special duty (OSD) on charges of corruption and misuse of authority in the year 2011. The step was taken by Chief Minister’s Secretariat after receiving several complaints against the officer accusing him of favouring inmates for having kickbacks.
An official of the jail seeking anonymity said that superintendent jail receives bribe for allowing B-class facilities to influential prisoners. He said that the jail superintendent and his team had fixed rates for various favours.
“They charged Rs10,000 to allow hospitalisation to inmates. Mobile phone use was allowed for a monthly payment of Rs15,000 and Rs1,000 was charged for arranging a meeting with an outsider,” he said adding that a prisoner could get better-quality food for the sum of Rs10,000 a month. Sources claimed that prisoner were more than 3000 while 500 citizens visit jails daily.
Jail staff charges between Rs1,000 and 2,000 to shift prisoners between barracks, barrack No-9 was considered the most comfortable barrack so Rs10,000 was charged for it.
Superintendent jail used to award mini contracts to subordinate staff to collect money like the warden deputed for body search was supposed to give superintendent jail Rs3000 daily. Similarly contracts were given to the staff at various points like protocol duty, chakkar, baggage search, meeting shed, out gate, in gate etc.
Food was another major source of corruption in jails. Preparing food for more than 3000 people was a profitable business for jail officers. Since substandard flour, ghee, pulses, meat, chicken, spices, beverages, rice and other items are supplied on very high prices only with the connivance of jail superintendent. It is worth mentioning here that during Musharraf government jail food was revised and better food was being given to the prisoners.
Chicken was being served to prisoners four times a week and reportedly weight of the chicken was also being cut since most of prisoners prepare their own food as food prepared by jail authorities was not up to the standard.
Loaf was prepared in such a way that major part of the loaf was not eatable and ultimately goes into the waste. An officer said that auction of the loaf waste (tukkra) was of worth more thousands per month.
Then another superintendent was deputed backed by an MNA from Sheikhupura and during his tenure Minister Prisons Waheed Arain had to pay bribe only to make his entry in jail and to meet some prisoner. He was also transferred and new superintendent was appointed in recent past.
Now after jail break incident of Dera Ismael Khan wherein more than 350 prisoners got released, prisons authorities have tighten the discipline inside jails and corruption ratio has also been minimised, sources claimed. They said that though corruption was there but organized corruption was not, no contracts were being awarded to subordinate staff.
The officer said that Punjab Chief Minister, Mian Shehbaz Sharif is enjoying his third tenure but corruption could not be controlled so far, adding that, an officer would be recruited or posted against payment of heavy bribe what can one expect from him to deliver, said an officer of jail.