T2F loyalists express outrage as 2 employees terminated, "publicly humiliated" on Facebook

Updated 08 Mar, 2018 08:47am

Images Staff

According to a Facebook post by T2F, the cultural centre has terminated two longstanding employees for embezzlement

Karachi's popular cultural centre T2F drew the ire of its loyalists on Tuesday evening after announcing in a public Facebook post the termination of two employees for embezzlement of funds.

The post, which was criticised for "humiliating" two of their longstanding employees, has since been removed with the following apology:

When asked to comment on the public notice by Images, T2F's executive committee released the following statement:

"The staffers were asked to leave after being found involved in embezzlement of funds over a significant period of time.

"There was due process – there was an external audit, then an internal inquiry, followed by discussion with persons in question, who when shown the evidence, admitted to it. They asked for the police not to be involved, and that was agreed to.

"The only thing under debate is whether this should have been disclosed on the public forum of the T2F Facebook page or not. It could have been done quietly, but then T2F may have faced accusations of arbitrary firing of old staffers. It should have been handled more sensitively, which is why initial announcement was removed.

"That the T2F visitors, friends and community are taking such keen interest in its organizational issues shows that people have a deep interest in and sense of ownership of the institution and its culture, and that is a positive thing."

However, the apology appears to have done little to appease T2F regulars who not only demand an apology for the terminated employees, but also criticise T2F for failing to adhere to the core values and vision with which T2F was founded.

Speaking anonymously to Images, former T2F employees have expressed the view that T2F's recent actions are symptomatic of its increasingly corporatised atmosphere.

"T2F is not a court. It was founded as a community-building, capacity-building platform, but the new board is thinking too corporate," said one ex-employee.

An ex-employee shared, "I'm not speaking on behalf of (late T2F founder) Sabeen (Mehmud), but based on my understanding of her, I know that if a person had stolen from T2F in her lifetime, she would sit him down behind closed doors and speak to him, try to understand why he did what he did. She would be heartbroken, but still give him a second chance. She would not make him suffer like this. T2F nurtured people, embraced them, it's not meant to shut them out."

The T2F executive committee confirmed rumours that the terminated employees' have been barred from entering T2F, even as visitors, and that their relatives have also been dismissed from T2F.

"Chand has been barred for multiple thefts, including from public donations. There is ample documented proof with T2F. Chand’s relatives have been asked to look for other employment, while being given two extra full months salaries in advance, and were told they will be given strong recommendation letters," the committee said in their statement.

Ex-employees have also criticised the manner in which the termination was carried out, saying that "An employee was kicked out on the basis of a single [meeting]. Maybe he was overwhelmed and he accepted it. Maybe he got scared because he dealing with the big guys. A number of things could have happened in that room."

Reactions to T2F's public notice of termination

Many had questioned the necessity of the public notice:

People also vouched for the honesty and loyalty of the terminated employees:

Some even went as far to suggest that foul play was involved: