A special audit conducted by the Auditor General of Pakistan has unearthed irregularities and misappropriation to the tune of Rs632 million in the advertisement section of Director General Public Relations (DGPR) Punjab, showed a letter written by the Government of Punjab to All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS).
The audit team has blamed Midas Private Limited, an advertising company, which has been working with the Punjab government since 1996, for the embezzlement of funds.
According to the audit of accounts for 2006-07 and 2007-08, Midas failed to produce CDs of programmes which were to be telecast between April and July 2007 but got payments for these four months in advance.
Besides, it did not deposit 15 per cent general sales tax in the government kitty and also failed to pay income tax, the Punjab government letter said.
In addition to these, the company overcharged the provincial government in respect of Crore Pati Scheme advertisements in newspapers.
It also received payments for telecasting programmes during prime time but the programmes were shown during non-prime time.
The audit also pointed out that the company telecast spots for less than the agreed duration and got payments for higher duration.
In the letter, the Punjab government told APNS that it could hire the services of audit companies – KPMG or Ferguson – for an independent audit to ascertain financial irregularities in the case.
It also asked APNS to persuade Midas to reconcile its receipts and pay back the excess amount.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2011.