Against the rules: Auditor general continues to draw car allowance

Since January 2012, Akhtar Buland Rana has received Rs2.2 million.

Shahbaz Rana August 07, 2013
AGP Akhtar Buland Rana. PHOTO: FILE


Auditor General of Pakistan Akhtar Buland Rana continues to receive a monthly sum of Rs118,000 in car monetisation allowance despite not being entitled to it. So far. the federal government has baulked at the possibility of ordering an end to the facility and recovering the allowance despite a report which is said to have determined the wrongdoing.

Rana has been claiming the allowance since January 2012, even though he rides in a chauffeur-driven car.

Sources in the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) office told The Express Tribune that a report on Rana’s withdrawal of the car monetisation allowance was submitted to the finance ministry along with his pay slip, establishing the fact that he was getting the money.

The AGPR office submitted the report to the Controller General of Accounts Asif Usman, who forwarded it to the ministry of finance last month. Usman confirmed to The Express Tribune that he has submitted the report to the ministry. He said the report, prepared by the AGPR office, confirmed that the auditor general was drawing the car allowance.

The ministry of finance had sought a response from the AGPR office after a media report highlighted the wrongdoing. On the basis of the report, the ministry was supposed to order the withdrawal of the facility and also to recover the amount already paid in car allowance.

In order to curb the misuse of official cars, the previous government had withdrawn all official vehicles from grade 20, 21 and 22 officers in return of approximately Rs68,000, Rs85,000 and Rs95,910 car allowance respectively for them.

Despite the fact that Rana rides in a chauffer-driven car; he got the allowance even after opposition by both the finance ministry and the Cabinet Division. The Cabinet Division had opposed the move on the grounds that constitutional position holders like the AGP were not entitled to such an allowance.

Currently, the auditor general earns 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. Of this, about 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.

After deeming this illegal, the then AGPR Farah Ayub Tarin refused to extend the facility to Rana.

Angered by the refusal, Rana replaced Tarin and appointed Manzar Hafeez Mian as AGPR who sanctioned him the car allowance.

A finance ministry official confirmed that the AGPR office has submitted a report on the illegal car allowance. Another official said that the report has not yet been put up for a decision by Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood.

Since January 2012, Rana has drawn about Rs2.2 million in car allowance. Masood is supposed to order recovery of the amount.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2013.