The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) has issued a show cause notice to Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) Buland Akhtar Rana for not filing a reply within 14 days in the National Assembly, regarding allegations of irregularities and drawing privileges without approval of competent authority.
It is the first time in the history of Pakistan that a complaint is filed for the disqualification of an AGP in the SJC – a supreme body, whose main function is to hear complaints against superior courts’ judges and top government functionaries.
At present, the council is headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Nasirul Mulk, two most senior Supreme Court judges – Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali – as well as chief justices of Sindh High Court and Peshawar High Court – Justice Maqbool Baqir and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel.
The complaint against AGP Rana was filed in the SJC in pursuance of the recommendations of the National Assembly, whose Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had constituted a sub-committee to probe the report of excess salary and illegal perks, illegally enjoyed by the AGP.
The PAC’s sub-committee found that the AGP had withdrawn Rs4.62 million from the exchequer on account of excess salary and privileges in violation of rules and regulations.
Last month, the sub-committee recommended that a reference be filed for the disqualification of Buland Akhtar Rana from the post of the AGP under Article 209 (5) read with Article 168 (5) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The PAC Chairman Syed Khursheed Shah, who is also the NA’s Leader of Opposition, presented the fact-finding report of the PAC on August 11 in the lower house, which after consideration and discussion, decided to send a reference to the SJC.
The committee also recommended recovering an amount of Rs4.62 million (Rs4,627,813) from the AGP and instructed the AGPR to stop further payments.
In the fact finding report, the sub-committee stated that in comparison with other grade-22 officers, the AGP was getting 20% additional salary and had availed more than Rs3.1 million illegally from January 1, 2014 till March 2014 under the monetisation policy.
The fact-finding report stated that during the course of proceedings of the committee, several complaints were received in the PAC wing against the AGP including one regarding his Canadian nationality and passport, which he obtained without prior approval of the government.
It alleged that Rana had gone on foreign trips without lawful permissions, possessed four different (3-Pakistani and 1-Canadian) passports and had availed long periods of ex-Pakistan leave to complete the residence requirements in Canada for immigration purposes.
The report also mentioned of a complaint of harassment by a lady officer, an adverse report of Inter-Services Intelligence about Rana’s conduct and a reference filed by ex-minister of state for information and broadcasting Syed Sumsam Bukhari.
It must be noted that the AGP had challenged the authority of the parliament and refused to attend the meeting of the PAC. He even restricted the AGP staff to attend the meetings of the parliament’s Oversight Committee for Accountability.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2014.
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