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ISLAMABAD: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has unearthed irregularities of millions of rupees including misappropriation of funds, irregular procurements, violation of PPRA (Public Procurement Regulatory Authority) rules and discrepancies related to financial management in the accounts of Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC), its attached department Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak EPA) and other environment as well as disaster management organisations in the fiscal year 2019-20 while recommending the recovery of this amount.

According to the audit report for the previous fiscal year 2019-20, the AGP pointed out a recovery of Rs 518.927 million in 29 cases concerning climate change, environment and disaster management organisations. Employees related irregularities were observed in 13 cases amounting to Rs 209.604 million, the report mentioned.

According to the report irregular purchases without open competition in violation of PPRA rules were observed in three cases amounting to Rs 97.856 million.

Five cases related to issues of value for money and service delivery were observed amounting to Rs 649.873 million.

Matters related to financial management were observed in nine cases for Rs 127.266 million, the report read.

The AGP in the report recommended that Principal Accounting Officers (PAOs) should take necessary steps to evaluate the financial management systems in order to strengthen and institutionalise the internal controls.

The AGP has recommended to recover irregular/unauthorised payments made by MoCC, Pak EPA, other environment and disaster management organisations. Other recommendations made by the AGP in its audit report for fiscal year 2019-20 include: issues related to employees be given due consideration and addressed at the earliest. Procurement must be made in transparent and competitive manner according to PPRA rules. Cases of violation of PPRA rules be investigated and efforts be made to safeguard the government’s interest while making procurements. Liquidated damages/ penalty be imposed on the contractors/vendors for service delivery issues. Internal control be strengthened and internal audit be conducted on a regular basis and internal audit report be shared with Audit. Inquiries ordered by DAC (Departmental Accounts Committee) be completed in time and their findings be shared with Audit. Matters related to policy issues be addressed at appropriate forum. Lastly, the AGP report recommends that MTBF (Medium Term Budgetary Framework) be followed and achieved within the given financial year, coordination between sister organisations as well as between provinces and centre is required to address the climate change and environment issues faced by the provinces and for the better projection of these issues at national and international levels.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020