PAC tells IT Ministry to probe, fix responsibility in several cases -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PAC tells IT Ministry to probe, fix responsibility in several cases

Ijaz Kakakhel

ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday expressed serious reservations over audit paras in the accounts of the Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunication Division and directed the IT Ministry to take measures and also improve the country’s exports.

Nadeem Afzal Chand presided over the PAC meeting at the Parliament House. Discussing an audit para, the committee said it was negligence and inefficiency on part of the ministry that it failed to utilise its developmental budget. The body also expressed reservations that every ministry had chief financial officers (CFO), but a large number of audit paras were still made in these ministries. However, the committee was told that the federal ministries never owned these CFOs and that was the main reason behind establishing several audit paras in the ministries/departments. The auditor general of Pakistan informed the committee that these CFOs were not fully empowered.

PAC also expressed displeasure over several audit paras in the IT Ministry about surrendering amount (net saving) to the government after completion of fiscal year. IT Secretary Farooq Awan told the committee that mostly, the net saving occurred due to vacant posts existed in the ministry’s various departments and was not filled during that fiscal year.

Through another audit para, PAC directed the ministry to hold an inquiry and fix responsibility over net saving of Rs 58.144 million in a grant during the year 2006-07.

The PAC members claimed that it was negligence on the part of the ministry’s officials. Yasmin Rehman said that about 50 percent saving had been occurred and requested the committee to order for inquiry into this mismanagement.

Awan told the committee that during the said period the government had approved a number of projects and released funds for them, but the ministry failed to utilise these funds due to lack of capacity. He said the Planning Commission also approved every project of the IT Ministry at that particular year.

PAC directed the principal accounting officer (PAO) to hold Inquiry and fix responsibility within 15 days.

The PAC also ordered Inquiry into another audit para related to granting a contract to a Canadian firm without any advertisement or approval from competent authority. The firm was given $10,000 in advance for the said purpose.

Riaz Fatyana regretted that the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) made the agreement before the due time of bidding. The committee also suggested carrying criminal procedure against then PSEB managing director. The IT secretary informed the committee that Suhail Shahid was the PSEB MD at that time and interestingly, NADRA had no record about him.

Abid Sher Ali told the committee that politicians were always tasked about their alleged corruption while top officials of the government were involved in misconduct.

PAC also took several audit paras of the National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) and ordered probe. The committee was informed that several projects in the NTC were carried out without prior approval from the competent authority, including the Developmental Working Party (DWP) with in the ministry. The PAC also settled some audit paras and for others it ordered inquiry.

The committee also discussed some audit paras of the National Food Security and Research and directed to ensure transparency in the ministry accounts.

Daily Times