When approached, Rafi Peer spokesperson Faizaan Peerzada first refused to comment but then hastened to add that “the information regarding suspension of aid is nothing more than a rumour”.
On the other hand, the US Consulate’s information officer said the USAID’s participation in the programme was concluding on September 30 by mutual agreement of USAID and the Rafi Peer Theatre workshop, which would have received million by then.
“The SUVs provided by USAID for the project were in personal use of the Peerzadas while USAID money was used to pay off their personal as well as Rafi Peer’s debts,” they said.
“The Rafi Peer Theatre had not given salaries to its employees for the past eight months.
Currently, however, only the first season has managed to come on-air, while other major portions of the programme, including the radio and outreach programmes have not even been touched.
Sources privy to the development revealed that lack of proper planning, mismanagement and financial irregularities have all been rampant throughout the project leading to an initial delay of a year and a half and finally the suspension of aid, as USAID has already notified the RPTW that it will not fund the programme after September 30.
The official stated that the RPTW administration has been offering various ‘attractions’ to the USAID officials concerned for turning a blind eye to the ‘looting spree’, because such blatant misuse of US taxpayers’ money would have been ‘impossible’ in such a strict financial discipline.The Peerzadas turned the project into a family affair, awarding all key posts to close relatives, who drew hefty salaries in millions of rupees despite the fact that the programme was mired in delays,” said a source working in the programme.According to details, Faizaan Peerzada was the chief of the company, Sadaan Peerzada was appointed the programme director, Usman Peerzada the production director, Imran Peerzada head of content, Tasneem Peerzada the senior writer, Sadaan’s wife Mirela the senior creative manager, Sadaan’s daughter Yamina Peerzada was first hired as the creative manager and later as a puppeteer when her contract ended.The Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop has been allegedly found involved in financial misappropriation of millions of dollars received as a part of the USAID-funded project, Pakistan Children’s TV (PCTV).
Reliable sources told Pakistan Today that USAID has already issued notifications regarding the suspension of aid for the programme meant to educate Pakistani children, over ‘severe’ irregularities.Pehredar ensures that the defaulting companies honour their commitments and the complainants get their due.