PAC puts PTA Board of Directors on Exit Control List
06 July, 2012
ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday put the board of directors (BoD) members of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on the Exit Control List (ECL) until the resolution of audit observations involving billions of rupees.
The PAC members took the decision on majority basis as three members, including Riaz Fatiyana, Saeed Ahmad Zafar and Riaz Hussain Pirzada, submitted dissenting notes while Pirzada walked out of the meeting on the ECL issue.
The PTA Board of Directors consists of three officials – PTA chairman, member (finance) and member (technical). The chairman of the committee said there were no charges against the PTA chairman or anyone else, but it required clearance of all audit paras of the last four years relating to the authority.
At the same time, the committee also directed the secretaries of the Ministry of Information Technology and the Cabinet Division to conduct a fact-finding inquiry against PTA top management over alleged irregularities in the accounts. The committee was informed that through a letter, which was sent by former officials of the PTA to the Cabinet Division, it was alleged that huge losses were incurred to the government through malpractices by the top PTA management.
However, PTA Chairman Dr Muhammad Yasin, who is going to retire on July 23, expressed displeasure over the allegations against him.
"I have been working for the last four years, some time 18 hours a day, but getting a harsh treatment, while my name is also put on the ECL," he said, and assured PAC that he would stay in the country until the completion of the inquiry.
PAC Chairman Nadeem Afzal Gondal informed the committee that the PTA case involving Rs 50 billion was in the court. The PTA chairman, having Australian nationality, is going to retire on July 23 and he might go abroad after retirement. The government had to suffer huge losses due to audit paras and court cases of the PTA, he said.
Earlier, IT Secretary Farooq Awan informed PAC that the PTA determined $291 million as the base price for 3G auction and short-listed six people to be appointed as international consultants, but the Auction Supervisory Committee (ASC) had expressed serious reservation over the names.
Khawaja Asif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) told PAC that India auctioned 3G licences for $69 billion. He also said that the Indian market was five time bigger than Pakistan, but the 3G auction estimated revenue for Pakistan was over $800 million as compared to India's $69 billion while was a huge difference. The PML-N lawmaker was of the view that the government should earn maximum revenue from it. He said that fixing $291 million as base price for 3G licence was totally unjust.
He told the committee that the nation was forced to bear losses of Rs 1 billion due to "Grey Trafficking" in 2008, which continued under the nose of former PTA chairman, but after appointing the new PTA chairman, the government was suffering Rs 6 billion losses per annum.