Sindh Ombudsman’s office under scrutiny

Published: January 26, 2019
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail. PHOTO: PTI

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail. PHOTO: PTI

HYDERABAD: After Sindh Governor Imran Ismail initiated an investigation into the expenditures of Provincial Ombudsman Sindh’s (POS) office, Sindh Audit director-general has intimated the ombudsman that an 11-year audit will be undertaken under a set of terms of reference (ToRs). In a letter dated January 23, secretary to the ombudsman was informed that the audit’s scope will be January 2008 to December 2018.

The exercise will start from January 30 and will tentatively conclude by February 22, according to the letter. The ombudsman’s office has been requested to provide the relevant record. The period of audit begins with the appointment of the incumbent POS Asad Ashraf Malik, who was appointed on January 3, 2008, and is serving for a third consecutive term in office.

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The ToRs under which the audit will be carried out include illegal appointments on contract without advertisement, irregular appointments of advisors and consultants in contravention of the rules and foreign travels with family on government expenses. “Misappropriation of funds towards the end of the financial years in the name of fictitious seminars,” reads one of the ToRs.

Purchase of a land cruiser vehicle beyond entitlement and its buy back at salvaged book value, renovation of hired residential accommodation and any other incidence of irregular expenditures and examination of finances are among other ToRs.

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Earlier, the governor through a letter dated October 18, 2018, sought details of expenditures and audit reports from the POS besides a year wise detail of institution, disposal and pendency of the cases. The POS was also required to inform about the expenditures incurred on seminars, conference, workshops and travelling allowances.

The function of the provincial ombudsman is to provide speedy relief to any citizen who may have suffered from maladministration of any agency of the Sindh government. The agencies include any ministry, division, commission or office of Sindh government and even a statutory body, corporation or other institution established or controlled by the provincial government.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2019.

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