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ISLAMABAD: The Auditor-General of Pakistan has detected massive embezzlement, mismanagement and irregularities in the accounts of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

In their annual audit report 2019-2020, there is an audit observation amounting to Rs5.9 billion in the audit of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

This amount also includes recoveries of Rs130.978 million as pointed out by the audit, the report says.

The report says that the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) deducted an amount of Rs13.993 million from the employees who retired from service during 2017-2019 on account of overpayment of special research allowance (SRA) and additional special research allowance (ASRA) and transferred it into the PARC pension bank account.

The audit observed that instead of depositing the amount in the government treasury, the same was retained in the bank account without justification.

It says that the PARC made several agreements/memorandums of understanding for generating foreign contribution/economic assistance.

An amount of Rs119.063 million was received by the PARC against different assignments, and Rs118.028 million was released to different centres/individuals working under the ambit of the PARC only during the year 2017-2019.

The audit observed that all the agreements/memorandums were signed with the international donors/organizations without approval from the federal government and vetting by the Law Division.

The report says that the National Agriculture Research Council (NARC) management is receiving funds on accounts of different assignments from the PARC out of the grant in aid received in foreign and local currencies.

An amount of Rs21.189 million was received during 2017-2019 on account of 10 different assignments.

The audit observed that the released amounts were retained by the management in a bank account maintained in the name of director/administration NARC, but the bank accounts where the accounts were released were not disclosed to the audit.

According to the report, the PC-1 of the PSDP-funded project on aqua-feed production in Pakistan for commercially important culturable fishes provides for construction of a building for installation of a fish feed mill and establishment of a fish feed processing unit in NARC.

The project was approved by the DDWP on September 19, with a capital cost of Rs55.307 million for a period of five years.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020