Salary fraud: Rs1.4b bogus payments made by AG’s office

Inquiry finds that hundreds of employees are withdrawing double salaries.

Asad Kharal March 26, 2013
The inquiry team found that bogus payments of at least Rs550.337 million had been made to ‘ghost employees’. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: The office of the Punjab Accountant General made bogus payments of at least Rs1.39 billion in financial year 2011-12, much of it to ‘ghost’ employees, according to an inquiry conducted by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA).

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has started an investigation into the irregularities on the basis of the inquiry report, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The inquiry team found that bogus payments of at least Rs550.337 million had been made to ‘ghost employees’, that is, employees who had different Personal Numbers, a unique ID given to all employees, based on the same Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) number.

For example, the CNIC number 35404-4916214-3 was claimed by four employees, all with different Personal Numbers. “This clearly indicates that ghost employees still exist in the system, even after the introduction of an advanced system,” said the inquiry report.

In its scrutiny of payments made to Police Department employees, the inquiry team found that 624 employees were withdrawing double salaries through various fraudulent methods.

The salary fraud was made possible, said the inquiry report, as the records of employees’ CNIC numbers had not been updated. In many instances, employees had been assigned dummy CNIC numbers or none at all.

The inquiry team also found that cheques amounting to Rs509.561 million were authorised for payment out of the Punjab Police Welfare Fund, even though the available credit was just Rs19.75 million, giving a debit balance of Rs489.11 million.

The Wage Clearing Head of Account for 2011-12 showed an imbalance of Rs286 million between payroll credit and debit, indicating fraudulent payments by excess printing of cheques or that the AG did not present a true picture of accounts to the CGA.

The inquiry team also found payment of Rs62.766 million to contractors in security deposit refunds in excess of the expenditure acknowledged by the divisions concerned.

The six-member inquiry team included CGA Director Azizul Haq, Accounts Officer Naseer Iqbal, Account Officer Malik Muhammad Arfan, Assistant Account Officer Muhammad Asif, Senior Auditor Masood Ahmed and Senior Auditor Adnan Haider.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2013.


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