Audit report: Irregularities in ETPB unearthed

Evacuee board invested billions without government approval


Qadeer Tanoli September 06, 2017
PHOTO: Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Massive irregularities amounting to billions of rupees have been noticed in the affairs of the Evacuee Trust Properties Board (ETPB) which administers evacuee properties attached to educational, charitable or religious trusts left behind by minorities after partition.

The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) in its report for 2015-16 has revealed that the ETPB made doubtful investment amounting to Rs1,106.632 million in a case which the AGP has rated as ‘fraud’ and ‘misappropriation’.

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The report said the ETPB Lahore paid Rs1,394 million at the rate of 15 per cent per annum to M/s High Link Private Limited Lahore from Aug 17, 2009 to May 10, 2012 through 22 transactions.

However, the ETPB Act does not have provision for making an investment other than in social welfare or charitable purposes and that too after getting approval from the federal government.

Out of the principal amount, an amount of Rs673m was received back by the department during the period from Aug 24, 2009 to Nov 23, 2011 leaving the remaining amount of Rs721m recoverable while the accrued profit was Rs536m from Aug 17, 2009 to October 31, 20015 out of which the ETBP received an amount of Rs130m but the remaining profit of Rs405 million was not received from the broker.

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The original record of investment was not available with the department as registered an FIR number 596 dated May 9, 2013 at police station Islampura Lahore alleging that the EPTB former Investment management officer Faizan Shams did not hand over the files when he was transferred to Sukkur.

The Lahore Stock Exchange also cancelled the trading right entitlement certificate of High Link Capital on March 24, 2014 and the case is now being investigated by NAB Lahore.

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The audit recommended that responsibility should be fixed for the irregular investment besides recovering the principal amount and profit from the person who made decision for this investment.

Ignoring the fair price assessment

The ETPB also faced loss of Rs43.82m on account of ignoring the fair price assessment of its property. The ETPB management leased out its property measuring 17 kanals, 8 marlas and 69 feet at Paka Garha, Hakim Khadim Ali Road in Sialkot in favour of the bidders.

The audit report observed that the bidding was made by ignoring the rates assessed by Sialkot’s district collector and market rate recorded in tender sheet. The actual non-refundable securities collected were Rs29 million against the market rate of non-refundable securities amounting to Rs73 million.

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This deal caused loss of Rs43 million by extending undue favour to four bidders.

The committee which recommended the allotment did not protect the ETPB’s interests. Rather it gave benefit to the private parties. The plot was split into five plots to bring it under competency of the ETPB chairman, the audit report added.

Unauthorised allotment

The audit report also unearthed unauthorised allotment of plot measuring 4,500 square feet in Area Development Scheme at Nankana Sahib. The plot was allotted without the approval of the federal government as required under the act.

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The ETPB management on Nov 20, 2015 verified that the sale price amounting to Rs264,000 was deposited by an officer against the plot at Nankana Sahib.

It was not forthcoming from the record as how the plot was allotted or transferred in the name of the officer without depositing the price in the name of the ETPB account.

The ETPB allotted plots in different areas of Punjab for six housing schemes for employees but it was unauthorised to do so as these allotments were done without approval of the federal government.

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