The bureaucrats of Sindh district governments want to work, but from the confines of air-conditioned, luxurious cars. Some district officers, not even entitled to official vehicles, were given cars from their share of the government funds to ease their travelling pains. This is what the auditors found in their report for 2010-11 – the first in a decade.
The report issued by the Auditor General of Pakistan office reveals how financial management rules were bent to spend unauthorised money on vehicles. In this one year only, Rs36 million were spent on vehicles. In most cases, the cars were unnecessary as the officers already had a fleet of vehicles under their control. According to government rules, the finance department has to sign off on new vehicles. The department decides on how many, their cost and who gets them.
But Benazirabad district officers violated the rules to buy cars worth Rs3.867 million in 2010 on their own. The guilty men are education, forest and revenue officers, but when the audit team asked about the irregularities, they were told that the district government allowed them the luxury. The audit team has recommended an inquiry. A similar case cropped up in Mirpurkhas district, where the DCO purchased vehicles worth Rs9.69 million. The officer not only violated his authority, but also defied the notification issued by the local government department, which states that grade 20 and 21 officials are entitled to use 1300cc locally manufactured cars.
The Mirpurkhas DCO bought six luxury vehicles, including Suzuki Jimny jeeps, of which three were handed over to lower ranking employees. When asked why, he told the auditors that 800cc vehicles were not available in the market.
In Qamber-Shahdadkot, the DCO got himself a new set of wheels at Rs1.058 million. All district officers, except the DCOs, are entitled for 800cc cars that cost around Rs0.5 million at that time. The administration also got a 1300cc luxury car for a district officer.
The Khairpur district administration bought a new car worth Rs0.8 million despite already having a fleet of vehicles at its disposal. The move wasn’t even approved by the finance secretary. The auditors were told that the car was an “essential need”.
In Tharparkar, a Toyota Corolla is not the recommended car for field duty. But still, the district government got the Rs1.6-million car, which was given to the Revenue EDO.
Due to financial constraints, the Shikarpur administration imposed a ban on officers buying physical assets in March 2011.
But the Education EDO was somehow able to buy two vehicles worth Rs1.4 million. According to the management, the funds were released by the Shikarpur DCO.
Luxury cars worth Rs7.7 million were bought for Larkana officials not entitled to them. The EDOs of revenue, health and agriculture already had vehicles, but got Toyota Corollas by diverting funds from development projects. The Health EDO said he had the permission of district purchase committee, but the other two did not bother to reply.
The Ghotki district’s Health EDO beat all his counterparts and drew Rs9.98 million on account of six vehicles without the finance department’s consent. But to the auditors, the deals were stated to have been made legally.
To places far, rent a car
The audit report also revealed how the DCOs of different districts spent millions of rupees from their accounts on rented vehicles despite having their own cars. The Sanghar district administration, which owns around 10 vehicles, spent Rs0.5 million on hiring cars “due to emergencies”. They failed to justify why their official vehicles were not used for field visits.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2012.