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Autonomous bodies run parallel governments: AGP Buland Rana

02 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP), Buland Akhtar Rana, on Wednesday told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that autonomous bodies had set up parallel governments in the country.

He said however autonomous a government department may be, its rules should be under the law of the land.The remarks were made after an interesting situation emerged in the APC meeting when examining the audit paras of the Pakistan Administrative Staff College, Lahore, it was revealed the person who was involved in embezzlement of Rs5.015 million had died but the Establishment Division did not have any proof of his death while the FIA said the record relating to the person was not traceable due to two terrorist attacks at the FIA office in Lahore. An FIR was registered against the deceased in 2004 and the case was transferred to the FIA subsequently but the FIA was still unaware of the death of the accused.

Establishment Secretary Shahid Rasheed told the committee that the main accused in the embezzlement had expired but they still did not have verification of the death.The case was referred to the FIA in 1998 but they stated before the committee that the record of the accused had been not traceable as they fear that it was burnt in two terrorist attacks on the FIA office in Lahore. The PAC members were astonished that if the person died, then how the case was going on against him.

An embezzlement of Rs5.015 million was detected by internal audit in the Pakistan Administrative Staff College. Till the detection of the fraud, the college authorities were maintaining 39 commercial bank accounts. Huge sums were drawn from one account to be deposited in another which were never deposited and the money was embezzled.

The department stated in 2004 that the responsibility of embezzlement was fixed and FIR was lodged against the cashier and the case was then transferred to the FIA.Through another reply in 2006, the department informed the DAC that case was under process with FIA.

In the Departmental Accounting Committee meeting on December 26, 2013, the department claimed that the cashier involved in embezzlement cases had expired but documentary evidence was not provided and the case is still pending with the FIA.

During the PAC meeting, Establishment Secretary Shahid Rashid posed to be powerless before the principal of the Pakistan Administrative Staff College saying that the College is an autonomous body and its Principal Ismail Qureshi has status of Principal Accounting Officer of the college. "Pakistan Administrative Staff College did not appear before us. We invited them for the DAC meeting but no one came from there," he told the committee.

PAC Chairman Syed Khursheed Shah took a strong exception to it saying that if this is situation of the College where bureaucracy gets the training, then what will they do after getting training. "If he (principal) did not come despite sending notices to attend the meeting, then why did you not take action or inform the PAC of the situation," Shah questioned the secretary.

"Every department of the country is answerable to parliament and no one could take impression that they are above accountability," he said.The PAC summoned Ismail Qureshi in the next meeting and sought details of powers and rules and regulation under which all autonomous bodies were working.

It was told that in Pakistan Administrative Staff College, 40 officials were appointed with permission of its board of governor despite a ban on jobs from 1995-96 and from 1998-99. It was told that Rs1.18 million was paid on account of salaries of these employees, which is as irregular and unauthorised.

Khursheed Shah said the president of Pakistan is the chairman of the college's board of governors and the committee cannot summon him.In the meanwhile, he sought the details from the Planning Commission on status of ongoing development programmes of the federal government.

Shah remarked it was injustice that billions of rupees of the projects were wasted due to delay. "The projects initiated in 2005 are still incomplete because of either incompetence of the Planning Commission or negligence of the government," he said.

He suggested that the Planning Commission initiate projects that could be completed in three years or in stipulated time.He sought report on details of funds spent on the construction of New Benazir Bhutto Airport in Islamabad and the increase in its cost due to delay.

End.

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