The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has raised red flags on the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) unauthorised purchase of 24 luxury vehicles as well as repair and maintenance of a fleet of 169 vehicles without obtaining authorisation from the Cabinet Division. In its audit report for the year 2019-20, the supreme audit institution noted that the FIA headquarters “purchased 24 tampered vehicles including luxury vehicles like BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Mark X, Camry and Hilux Surf from the office of Director General, Pakistan Customs during years 2017-19.”
“All the vehicles were unregistered,” it added. On October 9, 2018, the report stated, the FIA surrendered eight luxury vehicles out of 24 vehicles to DG Customs Intelligence and Investigation, Islamabad, but no acknowledgement or handing and taking over report of the vehicles was produced to the auditor. Referring to the Finance Division Expenditure Wing’s letters issued in 2017 and 2018, the AGP stated, it was ruled that there will be a complete ban on purchase of all types of vehicles excluding motorcycles.
The AGP observed that no officer was authorized to maintain luxury vehicles as per Staff Car Rules and the FIA incurred recurring liability to maintain such luxury vehicles, which was against the financial propriety and prudence required of a government department. As per the procedure, the ministries, divisions and departments needing operational vehicles shall get authorization of such vehicles from the Vehicle Committee constituted with a representative each from Cabinet Division, Finance Division and the respective ministry, division and department.
The audit noted that “NOC [No Objection Certificate] or authorization was not obtained from the Finance Division and the Cabinet Division.” In response, the FIA management replied that in order to run the enhanced official business, a case for enhancement of vehicles from 242 to 400 was moved to the Ministry of Interior in 2016, which is still pending. “All the vehicles will be registered in the current financial year,” the management replied. The reply, the audit stated, was not tenable as the case is still pending and the Departmental Accounts Committee (DAC) was not convened till the finalization of the report. “Audit recommends inquiry to [determine] responsibility besides surrendering of vehicles.”
Separately, the AGP also detected that the FIA headquarters was maintaining a fleet of 169 vehicles and an expenditure of Rs35.9 million was incurred on repair, maintenance and fuelling of these vehicles during financial year 2018-19. The audit said the maintenance and operation of a fleet of 169 vehicles and expenditure during the financial year 2018-19 without the NOC from the cabinet and the Finance Division was unauthorized. It said no detail of the vehicles surplus due to enforcement of monetization policy – over and above the number of entitled officers – was intimated to the Cabinet Division with a certificate by the Principal Accounting Officer.