ECP bought ballot boxes in violation of rules: AGP

Caused a loss of Rs360m by purchasing excessive poll material for 2018 elections

​ Our Correspondent September 22, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has revealed that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) provided undue benefit to a company while purchasing ballot boxes for the 2018 general election and also bought excessive poll material that caused a loss of Rs360 million to the exchequer.

Pointing out irregularities in the financial affairs of the ECP, the country’s top audit body disclosed in a report that the commission awarded the contract for ballot boxes to a company for Rs257.2 million while the lowest bid was of Rs228.3 million. This resulted in a loss of Rs28.9 million to national kitty.

The AGP noted that according to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules, the contract should have been awarded to the company making the lowest bid. Therefore, it said, the ECP had violated PPRA rules.

The top audit body also disclosed that the ECP had 115,162 more ballot boxes than were needed. This surplus purchase caused a loss of Rs146.486 million.

“Against a shortfall of 87,077 transparent boxes, the management procured 202,239, which resulted in an excess purchase of 115,162 boxes and a loss of Rs146.486 million,” the report read.

Besides, the commission also bought 146,952 more foldable screened off compartments than were required, resulting in a loss of Rs220.341 million.

“Against a shortfall of 207,478 foldable screened off compartments, the management procured 354,430, which resulted in an excess purchase of 146,952 screens and a loss of Rs220.341 million."

"The procurement of additional election material in excess of requirement has resulted in a loss of Rs366.827 million to the government." The AGP pointed out that losses of around Rs7.7 million were incurred in transporting election supplies to polling stations for the 2018 polls.

According to the report, a sum of Rs108.166 million realised through cellular service providers for their 8,300 SMS service had not been deposited with the ECP. This amount had been handed over to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). The commission had not contacted NADRA to retrieve the money.

The audit body also identified an unauthorised payment of Rs10.160 million as honorarium to the ECP employees and another unapproved expenditure of Rs38.676 million as diet and extra charges to the employees.

It also noted that an amount of Rs9.890 million was spent on entertainment, gifts, conferences, seminars, etc. The audit body has recommended conducting an investigation into the financial irregularities of the ECP.


Pointing out irregularities in the financial affairs of the National Highway Authority (NHA), the AGP in its report noted that despite reducing the scope of work on Karachi-Lahore motorway’s Lahore Abdul Hakeem section, Sukkur-Multan Motorway and Havelian-Thakot Motorway, additional dues to the tune of Rs18 billion were paid to contractors.

The audit body noted that despite the decrease in the scope of work, there was no reduction in the cost of the projects.

According to the report, the AGP had taken up the matter with the NHA in September 2018. The NHA replied that the contractors deserved full payment for having worked according to the designs of the projects. The AGP, rejecting the reply, told NHA to recover the additional amount.

NHA spokesperson Mushtaq Ahmed told The Express Tribune said this was the initial stage of audit and if any additional payments had been made, they would be recovered.



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