ISLAMABAD: While refusing to acknowledge the huge misappropriation pointed out by the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP), Industries and Defence Production Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi confirmed, however, a lesser amount – Rs74 million –of corruption in the Utility Stores Corporation (USC).
The AGP had unearthed financial irregularities amounting to over Rs323 million in the USC during financial year 2009-10. Earlier this year, Pakistan Muslim League MNA Imran Ali Shah also filed a petition in the Supreme Court to probe massive irregularities amounting to Rs100 million and the illegal appointments of 786 persons in the USC.
Parliamentary Secretary for Industries Pir Haider Ali Shah confirmed on the floor of the house on Friday that there was in fact ‘massive corruption’ in the USC and said, “Corruption has weakened the Utility Stores Corporation.”
He, however, claimed that 70% of the embezzled money has been recovered, while the auditor’s objections, he added, would be settled “amicably”.
Around 46 employees embezzled Rs15.485 million in the regional office Nawabshah district (Sindh) during the last two years, Elahi said in a written reply to the National Assembly. Some 19 cases of misappropriation were also reported in 2011, for which the accused have already been summoned by the courts.
Giving details regarding the misuse of public money, Elahi said that Qureshi Flour Mill, Peshawar misappropriated wheat stocks amounting to Rs39.8 million during the current fiscal year. Misappropriation worth Rs9.5 million in a utility store in Attock was registered against some officials, the senior minister informed. A case is being pursued by the government for the recovery of the embezzled money, the reply said.
The USC administration incurred losses worth Rs8.9 million on the provision of stock on credit to franchise stores.
Establishment of new utility stores
In order to provide relief to the masses, the government is planning to establish more utility stores across the country, especially in Balochistan, Haider Ali Shah said.
Lawmakers should submit applications for establishing new stores in Balochistan, the parliamentary secretary replied to a question posed by an MNA from the province.
The new stores will also be established where banks and post offices are located, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2011.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ