ISLAMABAD: An audit report has found that a private testing agency, National Testing Service (NTS), collected the fee from over 30,000 applicants for recruitment in the Islamabad Police in 2015, but then did not allow them to appear in the written test.
This was stated in a report prepared by the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) and recently submitted to Parliament.
The capital police had contracted the NTS to conduct the two-part recruitment tests through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on February 4, 2015. The agreement came after the Establishment Division had lifted a ban on government recruitment a few months earlier.
Islamabad Police had subsequently invited applications from candidates.
In response to the call, as many as 45,939 candidates applied for posts in the force.
The NTS charged each candidate Rs650 for appearing in the tests, collecting a total of Rs29.86 million.
However, the auditors were astonished to learn that over 66 per cent of the applicants were disqualified by the NTS at the initial physical assessment stage.
“NTS had collected Rs19.9 million from 30,660 at a rate of Rs650 per applicant but, they were not allowed to appear in the written test,” the audit report read.
The report added that candidates had been charged for both, the physical inspection and the written tests.
The AGP objected as to why the NTS had not allowed a majority of the candidates to sit the exam.
The AGP further pointed out that while the Establishment Division had allowed the involvement of private testing agencies to conduct multiple-choice question test but there was no provision for conducting physical tests by a private testing service.
The auditor general termed the fee collected by NTS as ‘unauthorised’ and in violation of the rules.
“Audit is of the view that involvement of a private agency, NTS, without the backing of legal authority and its involvement in government structure was a violation of Civil Servants Act 1973,” the audit report said.
The AGP has recommended that the 2015 recruitment process should be probed and responsibility should be fixed for the wrongdoings, and end the involvement of private entities in the recruitment process for government organisations.
“The involvement of private agency in the recruitment process, especially for Islamabad Police, was a serious threat to the existing government structure. There was no provision in the Police Rules 1934 regarding the conduct of physical test and written test by a private firm … The audit recommends that responsibility may be fixed for the irregularity besides discontinuation of this practice,” the report said.
The auditor general further observed that by allowing involvement of private testing firms in recruiting government employees, the Establishment Division had given 70 per cent control over recruitment to private firms leaving only 30 per cent (interview) in the hands of the ministries and concerned departments.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2017.