Seeking nomination of autonomous bodies' heads: PAC decides to write letter to Prime Minister
The Public Accounts Committee decided on Wednesday to write a letter to prime minister, seeking nomination of the heads of all autonomous bodies as Principal Accounting Officers; so that they could be held accountable for irregularities in their respective departments/organisations.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014
The PAC chairman Syed Khursheed Shah directed the committee secretariat to write a letter to the prime minister when Secretary Establishment Tahir Rashid revealed that rector of Pakistan Administrative Staff College, Lahore, did not turn up despite several requests. Shah said that standard and role of the college should be exemplary as all the bureaucrats are trained there. The committee has summoned rector of the college in next meeting.
The chairman also directed the committee's secretariat to write separately to all autonomous bodies, seeking details of all their rules and regulations; so that the institutions could be held accountable by the public representatives. "Public money is being spent on different projects carelessly (by heads of autonomous bodies) because there is nobody to hold them accountable," he said.
The committee has sought a detailed report on terms of reference of all autonomous bodies, their ongoing and future projects. It also sought the initial and present cost of Benazir Airport project from the planning commission. The chairman committee said the planning commission should approve the projects to be completed in three years or within the stipulated time period. The chairman also directed the planning commission to submit all the details of the ongoing projects to the committee secretariat.
"It is pity that projects started in 2005 are still ongoing while the cost continues to escalate with ever increasing inflation," he said, adding the delay in some projects is also costing the national exchequer billions of rupees per annum. About recruitment of 40 officers in National Institute of Public Administration, Auditor General of Pakistan told the committee that the recruitment was banned in 1998-the time the officers were inducted.
The committee observed that the appointments are illegal and rules and regulation of the Federal Public Service Commission need to be reviewed, so as to remove any bottleneck. The chairman said that the secretary establishment should have taken notice of the issue.
"NIPA is an independent and autonomous institution that's why we have not intervened in the recruitment process," the secretary establishment said. Responding to a query by the chairman committee, the secretary establishment said that he did not bring along the rules and regulations book and therefore cannot inform the committee about rules of NIPA's board of governors.
After being informed by the secretary establishment that President of Pakistan is chairman of NIPA's board of governors, Khursheed Shah said the president should be asked as to how he allowed the board to induct the officers despite ban on recruitment. The committee has sought opinion of law ministry on the issue that how far the NIPA board can use its discretionary powers.
Meanwhile, audit officials informed the committee members that an irregularity of some five million rupees was also detected in funds of Pakistan Administrative Staff College, Lahore, whereas the cashier responsible for this has passed away. The audit officials, however, said they could not independently verify demise of the cashier. The secretary establishment said the matter is with the Federal Investigation Agency; so it is responsibility of the relevant agency to confirm death of the cashier.
The FIA officials said the particular case is pending with the National Accountability Bureau as all the cases with the FIA were transferred to the NAB during October 2004 to October 2008. The chairman committee directed the FIA and NAB officials to submit death certificate of the cashier with the committee secretariat in five days and also bring all other relevant documents in the next meeting.