Money orders sent for needy disappear from post office

Pakistan Post is yet to return Rs778m to national exchequer: auditors.


Zahid Gishkori June 20, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


The Pakistan Post Office (PPO) is yet to return Rs778 million – originally meant for needy persons under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and Zakat and Ushr committees – to the national exchequer, an audit report said.


The money instead was siphoned off by corrupt officials, sources said.

A recent report compiled by the Auditor-General of Pakistan (AGP) showed that the money was sent to officials of poverty alleviation projects and local zakat committees via cheques and money orders, which were supposed to be delivered by the Post Office.

The report pointed out that officials of 11 Post Office hubs had embezzled or misappropriated the money, instead of paying the original beneficiaries.

The AGP observed that the money orders worth Rs760 million remained unpaid and were never dispatched to the recipients.

The amount is (still) unpaid in postal service offices in Islamabad, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah, Sukkur, Larkana, Abbottabad, Bahawalpur, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan and Karachi, the report said.

The BISP management wrote to the PPO, Lahore, for returning the money when it became evident that it remained undelivered to the beneficiaries, but they (PPO) never replied to its request, a senior official of the poverty alleviation project told The Express Tribune.

“Unpaid money orders were retained and (this was) not intimated to BISP for adjustment till April last year,” the official said.

BISP rules are silent over the compilation of money order data and there is no assurance that correct figures will be incorporated in the final accounts of the formations, raising the “risk of embezzlement”, investigators said.

Officials of the Pakistan Post Office said that the BISP’s unpaid amount has been reconciled with the authorities concerned.

Auditors refused to entertain the reply and said it was unacceptable, adding that there was no verifiable documentary evidence. “A flaw has been left unattended in the procedure,” they said.

A departmental accounts committee had directed the management to furnish reconciled figures for verification but there was no response from the Post Office officials. Investigators said that post offices had delivered money orders worth only Rs2.1 million to the beneficiaries during 2009-10.

Money orders sent to post offices in Quetta, Khuzdar, Turbat and Sibi for disbursement could not be sent to beneficiaries, auditors said, adding that it was feared that this money could be misappropriated as post office officials had failed to produce any documentary evidence.

Investigators also observed that Rs15.9 million were misappropriated in the disbursement of zakat at two Post Office sub-offices at Dera Murad Jamali and Dera Allah Yar in 2005-06.

They said that cheques were received from chairmen of local zakat committees for disbursement but postmasters deposited them in unauthorised accounts opened in two National Bank branches.

The amount was fraudulently withdrawn and misappropriated by the postmasters in question in connivance with chairmen of local zakat committees, auditors added.

A reply was filed by PPO officials, which said that there was “neither any loss to the department nor any complaint received from the beneficiaries”.

The case was not reported to the Pakistan Post Office’s Circle Office in Lahore.

Auditors rejected the reply, saying that an internal inquiry proved that misappropriation had occurred and held post office officials as well as chairmen of local zakat committees responsible.

The DAC directed the officials concerned to recover the amount and take disciplinary action against officials responsible for the infraction.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2011.

COMMENTS (2)

Shams uz Zaman | 10 years ago | Reply It is so shameful and despicable act but unfortunately it shown our face. The face of this nation is dishonest, hypocrite, corrupt and merciless. Shame on our nation and shame on us. As a nation we are corrupt and shameless with very few exception. This is the sorry state of our government institutions. I am ashamed on the fact that how many needy persons would have been deprived as a result of this act.
Mirza | 10 years ago | Reply The irony in this news is the "equality". The post offices of each province and most cities are equally "honest".
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