Concealing misdeeds: Audit objections involving Rs12b swept under rug

Fact-finding panel fixes responsibility on four officials for misreporting in PAC Report 2006-07.

Umer Nangiana July 24, 2013


Disregarding directions by the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to take action on audit objections involving over Rs12 billion, some anti-graft officials wrongly reported them as ‘settled’ or did not report them at all.

This was revealed by the fact-finding commission formed by the National Assembly speaker on complaints of misreporting in the PAC Report 2006-07.

The commission report, in possession of The Express Tribune, revealed that four PAC officials and some unidentified officers in the ministries concerned, for personal gain, misreported some 75 audit objections. These audit paras were not subsequently incorporated in the PAC report 2006-07.

The two-member commission comprising Joint Secretary Latif Qureshi and Officer on Special Duty Khalid Mehmood summoned the four officers including PAC deputy secretary Romana Gul Kakar, PAC OSD Salamat Ali, section officers Muhammad Asif and Hafsah Mahvish and questioned them over the alleged ‘criminal negligence’.

In its report, the commission declared that these four officers violated the prescribed procedures and disobeyed the orders of their superiors such as the then PAC chairman Nadeem Afzal Gondal. “The PAC chairman was not aware that these officials had wrongfully settled the audit objections,” said an official of the National Assembly Secretariat.

The commission discovered that the accused officers wrongfully reported as ‘settled’ at least six audit paras involving Rs225.37 million in violation of PAC directives on referring the paras back to Departmental Accounts Committee for recoveries and verifications.

About 31 audit paras involving Rs6.55 billion were not reported, thus deleted from the report. Similarly, the official in connivance with ministries’ officials reported nine audit paras involving Rs2.4 billion without getting them vetted by the auditors.

At least 29 audit paras involving Rs2.8 billion were reported without incorporating the correction proposed by the audit in the final report in the light of PAC directives.

The inquiry commission recommended that the PAC 2006-07 Report be re-checked to enable the competent authority to issue a corrigendum to lay in the house for its approval.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2013.