Akhtar Buland Rana, the country’s auditor general, is allegedly illegally drawing a sum of Rs118,000 in car allowance every month besides availing 20% special pay and pension on the job.
Of this, Rs95,910 is claimed in car monetisation allowance while a 20% additional allowance is charged on the same account, according to the pay slip of the auditor general.
Rana has been making these car allowance claims since January 2012 – even though he has been riding in a chauffeur-driven car.
The amount the auditor general was getting was Rs21,000 over and above the car allowance that the previous government had fixed for Grade-22 officers.
Currently, the auditor general is getting a salary 20% higher than the maximum salary payable to a Grade-22 officer. On the same grounds, he got a monthly car allowance which is 20% higher than what is available to a Grade-22 officer.
Rana is also illegally getting 20% special pay or Rs17,140 per month in addition to his normal salary, which is already 20% higher than any Grade-22 officer, his pay slip shows. On account of special pay, the AGP claimed Rs1.6 million arrears.
Sources within the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue office said the AGP was availing car monetisation facility despite opposition by both the finance ministry and the cabinet division. The cabinet division had opposed the move on the grounds that the constitutional position holders like the AGP were not entitled to such an allowance, the sources said. Under the rules, holders of constitutional positions are not allowed to claim car monetisation allowance
In order to curb misuse of official cars by the bureaucrats the previous government had withdrawn cars and in return gave cash to Grade 20 to 22 officers.
After finding the demand illegal, the then AGPR Farah Ayub Tarin refused to extend the facility to the AGP Rana. Vexed by the refusal, the AGP replaced Tarin and appointed Manzar Hafeez Mian as AGPR who sanctioned him the car allowance, the sources added.
The Express Tribune contacted the former AGPR, Manzar Hafeez Mian, who is currently serving as the Deputy Auditor General of Pakistan. “I do not wish to comment,” said Mian in a terse response. The incumbent AGPR Tahir Mahmood was also not available for comment.
The disclosure came on the heels of the AGP’s demand for a 400% increase in salary. His continued misuse of taxpayers’ money put a question whether he is really a custodian of the exchequer.
The auditor general’s office is the prime institution in the country for ensuring public accountability and fiscal transparency in governmental operations. It is also responsible for bringing improvements in the financial discipline and internal control environment in the executive departments for minimising the possibility of waste and fraud.
The AGP’s spokesman Imran Iqbal also refused to respond to any of the questions on illegal car allowance, getting pension on a job and whether Rana was really a custodian of the taxpayers’ money.
According to the AGP Ordinance of 2001, the AGP is paid a pension of Rs25,000 per annum for each completed year of service. This amount is in addition to what the AGP will get in normal pension after retirement. However, the sources said, the AGP Rana pushed the former AGPR Mian to give him Rs25,000 per month in pension that he had to agree.
Till 2001, the auditors also used to perform the audit of the AGP under 1973 laws. However, the AGP’s audit had been stopped after this function was deleted in the 2001 Ordinance.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2013.
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