ISLAMABAD: Asad Khan, the former managing director of the National Engineering Services Pakistan Limited (Nespak), survived the Public Accounts Committee scrutiny despite hiring people and purchasing vehicles irregularly.
Audit objections against Khan, who was appointed by the Pakistan Peoples Party government, were heard by Syed Khursheed Shah-led PAC. The accountability arm of the parliament either settled the audit objections or deferred decision on flimsy excuses.
The auditors had highlighted that the former MD of Nespak irregularly hired people, bought five luxury vehicles, irregularly promoted his favourite employees, did not expel people who had fake degrees and paid fee to a lawyer who was fighting his personal case. The auditors had estimated the cost of these irregularities at over Rs64 million.
The former MD procured five Toyota Fortuners at a cost of Rs27.9 million in May 2013 without having provision of the budget and the approval of the Board of Directors, said Director General of Commercial Audit. The vehicles were bought during the period when such purchases were banned, he added.
An inquiry committee had declared the purchases irregular. The DG said that instead of taking action, the Nespak Board constituted another inquiry committee. The Secretary Water and Power defended the second inquiry, saying it would fix the responsibility and give report by mid of this month. The PAC did not take any action in this case and said it would wait for the outcome of the inquiry.
The former MD irregularly hired eight people and five of them did not possess relevant job experience. The audit had recommended action against the former MD for irregular appointments and subsequent Rs9.9 million expenses on these people. The PAC took no action in this case.
The auditors also pointed out that Nespak paid Rs15.25 million to its employees with fake degrees. Instead of terminating their contracts, the former MD demoted them, said the DG Commercial Audit and Evaluation. The incumbent MD said that all of these employees have been terminated and FIRs will be registered against them. However, the PAC did not take any action against the former MD.
The former MD paid Rs1 million from Nespak funds to a legal advisor hired to defend his personal case in the court. The MD said that the amount has been recovered from Asad Khan. But the PAC did not take action against the former MD.
The PAC also settled an audit objection related to hiring of a principal engineer and subsequently Rs7.2 million payment to him. Nespak hired Muhammad Kausar for a position in a Gulf country. However, the company posted Kasuar in the United States despite inadequate experience. The person was running his own brokerage firm in Lahore Stock Exchange and was not a practicing engineer, said federal auditors. The PAC did not take any action in this case.
The former MD irregularly promoted five persons as general managers and paid them Rs2.3 million in allowance, which the auditors termed irregular but the PAC did not take any action.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2015.