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PAC chief Nadeem Afzal wants govt officers jailed

10 January, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Nadeem Afzal Gondal, on Wednesday said that a separate jail should be made in Islamabad for government officers.

He made this observation during a PAC meeting held here on Wednesday that took up all the audit paras of the attached departments of the Ministry of Water and Power. The ministry made a startling revelation that Rs82 billion had already been paid as penalty to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the last five years, while the actual payment was yet to be made. At this, the PAC chairman said that big crocodiles had to go in future.

The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP), Buland Akhtar Rana, observed that due to late payments, the penal surcharge was being increased annually. Special Secretary Ministry of Water and Power Hamayatullah Khan blamed the accumulation of circular debt for the penal surcharge. "The recovery is less than what we are paying and resultantly the circular debt is accumulated," he told the committee.

PAC Member Saeed Zafar said the people were being robbed in the name of circular debt as Wapda was purchasing expensive electricity from the IPPs and selling it to consumers at exorbitant rates, which make the poor suffer.

The PAC directed Wapda to blacklist three private companies for supplying sub-standard material and to take punitive action against them after conducting an inquiry. The PAC directed that action taken in this regard be reported to it within 20 days.

The PAC was also informed that electricity worth Rs790 million was being stolen through two lakh 'kundas' in Hesco (Hyderabad Electric Supply Company) and Pesco (Peshawar Electricity Supply Company). Officials of the ministry said that 150,000 of the 'kundas' had been disconnected while the remaining 50,000 had been regularised.

The PAC took a strict note of such illegal practices and directed the ministry to issue show cause notices to the companies concerned. The committee directed the Hesco to take immediate measures to regularise all the 'kundas' into regular connections.PAC constituted a 2-member sub-committee comprising Noor Alam Khan and Noorul Haq Qadri to look into the issue of electricity theft.

As CEOs of Faisalabad Electricity Supply Company (Fesco) and Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) had not turned up for the meeting, the PAC directed that show cause notices be issued to them.

The audit officials further told PAC that electric power worth of Rs550 million was being illegally consumed in Quetta Electricity Supply Company (Qesco). On this the Qesco officials told that out of 1,580 tube well connections, 884 tube well connections has been regularised while remaining will be disconnected soon. The PAC directed to recover the amount from all the 1,580 tube well owners.

The auditors told the committee that material like transformers, conductors, poles and other accessories worth Rs79.9 million were stolen from different distribution companies. They said that Hesco took a lead where material worth Rs30 million was stolen.

The PAC directed that steps be taken for recovery of the stolen material and sought weekly report on this issue.The audit officials told the PAC that the Genco Guddu suffered a loss of Rs510 million due to sub-standard material supplied by a company which was rejected by the survey committee. They added that the company neither replaced the rejected material nor returned the amount involved.

PAC was also informed that the distribution companies have paid Rs210.94 million to the commercial banks on account of collection of electricity bills. The auditors told the committee that instead of charging Rs2 as commission per bill, the banks were charging Rs10 per bill.

The PAC directed to make a recovery from the commercial banks and report back to the committee within 20 days. Chairman PAC observed that if the recovery was not made then the chief executives of the distribution companies would be held responsible.

"The official who failed to make the recovery in the past should be issued show cause notices," he directed.The PAC also took notice of expenditure of Rs35.055 million for hiring expert services by M/s National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak) Foundation without advertisement or approval of the Establishment Division. The PAC directed that responsibility be fixed for getting expert advice without advertisement in the press. It also sought details of the number of officials hired by Nespak and also about the perks and privileges offered to them.

The auditors also told the committee that despite ban on the purchase of vehicles, the Nespak purchased 60 vehicles worth of Rs41.55 million.

However, Special Secretary Minister of Water and Power justified the procurement of the vehicles by Nespak saying that the autonomous institutions did not come under the purview of the ban.The committee directed that ex post facto approval from the prime minister be obtained for the purchase.

End.

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