The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the auditor general of Pakistan to conduct a special audit on the approval and execution of development schemes initiated by ex-premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to determine if there were any wrongdoings in the process.
Giving a two-week time period, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry directed AGP Muhammad Akhtar Buland Rana to conduct the audit of all development schemes initiated under the Peoples Welfare Programme PWP-II by Ashraf in the year 2012-2013.
The bench, also comprising Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Justice Gulzar Ahmed, issued notices to former federal secretary Finance Abdul Khaliq after Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue Tahir Mehmood alleged that Khaliq and a deputy secretary Finance pressurised AGPR officials in March 2013 to release funds as the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government’s tenure was nearing its end and the Election Commission of Pakistan had imposed a ban on the transfer of development funds.
“We clearly wrote to the finance ministry that it is pre-poll rigging and a clear violation of relevant rules to withdraw funds after the ECP ban. My predecessor went on a 40-day leave after he received directions to issue funds under the PM’s special directives. Later, I was pressurised to release funds for the PWP-II schemes,” claimed Mehmood.
The accountant general asked the court to get a special audit carried out through the auditor general in the absence of any criteria to gauge the transparency in the utilisation of development funds estimated to be Rs52 billion. A legal adviser of SNGPL present in the apex court informed the bench that the company received Rs5.8 billion for provision of gas to Gujar Khan out of which Rs1.4 billion was spent and the rest of the money was deposited in the assignment account of the federal government.
The director general of Pak PWD said his department received Rs21 billion for 6,274 development schemes out of which they spent Rs15.5 billion and completed 3,803 schemes, while 1,744 were in progress and the rest were not yet initiated.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2013.
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