A special audit report, furnished by the Auditor-General of Pakistan, has revealed massive irregularities in the Punjab division of the National Education Foundation (NEF) during 2010-2011.
The report found some ‘glaring discrepancies’ in disbursement of salaries, large expenses incurred on fuel use by the headquarters and the minister concerned, ‘unjustified’ travel expenses and ‘unauthorised’ purchase of a Toyota Corolla.
It also mentions ‘irregular’ expenditure worth Rs51.48 million in the appointment of 130 supervisors who had no sanctioned post.
The audit report observed that the discrepancies indicated a lack of internal control, disregard for procedural formalities, flouting of regulations for personal gain and a defiance of the purpose for which the project was conceived.
A total of 6,116 teachers were involved in the BECS initiative, who were supposed to receive salaries on a quarterly basis through an online system. According to the report, almost Rs85million was paid in salaries – but there is an absence of reconciliation with regard to these heavy disbursements.
This can further questioned by the fact that a large number of schools have been shut down by the NEF directorate, but without any plausible reason and without any records of whether salaries were disbursed during or after the schools faced closure. The report concluded, therefore, that embezzlement of funds in this situation was likely, and that an independent probe needed to be launched into the matter.
Appointments made without approval
It was also mentioned in the report that the Punjab NEF director Faisal Shehzad claimed that he himself, as well as 113 employees, had been appointed during 2009-2011 with the approval of NEF Islamabad chapter, but failed to produce any record to substantiate the claim. The audit therefore observed that Shezad was illegally appointed and that his appointment be reversed.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2012.
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