PESHAWAR: After directives from NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, a prevention committee was formed to ward off corruption in the Public Health Engineering, Water and Sanitation, Irrigation, Local government and Rural Development departments of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government.
These were made in pursuance of Section 33C of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 and comprised representatives of all stakeholders.
The mandate of the Prevention Committee is to advise public authorities and holders of office on the measures taken to combat corrupt practices. The members would examine the laws, rules and regulations, as well as the code of conduct for the departments.
Chaudhry chaired a meeting on July 6, 2015 to review the recommendations of the Prevention Committee for departments mentioned above. Roughly 15 recommendations were made.
For assets declaration and analysis, the committee recommended all administrative secretaries issue a certificate at the end of the financial year that officers/officials have declared their assets.
As for the code of conduct, it was recommended the K-P chief secretary monitor the conduct of government employees through a subcommittee. Another area was the charter of duties and responsibilities for which the Prevention Committee recommended expediting the Pakhtunkhwa Code.
In its fourth recommendation, the committee talked about the establishment of a user-friendly website to make the departments more approachable. It was also suggested the Local Government department set up a one-window service delivery system for the public. This method was suggested to be taken at the district and tehsil level in the first phase and later extend to village councils.
As for recruitment and promotion policies, it was recommended posting of officers on own pay scale (OPS) be highly discouraged as it was contrary to merit and the promotion policy.
Meanwhile, the committee also encouraged the use of information technology for transparency.
Recommendations about the revision of schedule of rates were also given. It was suggested a corporate social responsibility cell be established in the Finance Department from where item rates are updated and notified on an annual basis for all the works departments of the province.
Additionally, the Prevention Committee gave its recommendations about the enlistment process of contractors. It was recommended all contractors be initially registered with Pakistan Engineering Council after the required licence was issued.
Other areas for which recommendations were given included education and training on Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Public Procurement Regulatory Authority and Provincial Procurement Rules; transparency in the tendering process; external audit and setting of audit objections; the grievance system; quality control; and standardisation of quality procurement as per the rules.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2015.