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ISLAMABAD: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has raised questions over National Electric Power Regulatory Authority's actions which led to financial loss to the exchequer.

The Auditor General, in its audit report of 2019-20, made observations with respect to Rs 429.7 million which include recoverable(s) of 139.76 million related to human resource, procurement and violation of regulatory laws and regulations.

The audit paras are about non-payment of Rs 240.93 million as statutory charges to the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), non-recovery of long pending licence fee of Rs 139.76 million and irregular appointment of employee as senior Advisor Technical.

According to the Supreme Court order of suo motu case on March1, 2010 a committee has already been constituted to look into the cases of persons appointed on contract basis who are not allowed to continue in terms of section-14 of the Civil Servants Act-1973 unless the conditions specified therein are satisfied. As per guidelines of Establishment Division issued on January 254, 2002 and June 21, 2005 "the consultancies granted after the age of superannuation will be treated as re-employment and will be subject to same rules as are applicable to re-employment after superannuation and requires approval of the Prime Minister as per section-14 of the Civil Servant Act-1973 and Employment after retirement policy and procedure spelt out in Establishment Secretary's D.O of January 28, 1989."

Nepra decided to advertise the post of Director General (Tech) as Senior Advisor (Tech) on February 27, 2014 in order to cover up the overlapping period of Husnain Zaigham working against the post up to the date of his retirement i.e. May4, 2014. Accordingly, the advertisement was published on April 12, 2014 and the retired officer was reemployed as Advisor on May 23, 2014.

According to the audit, this arrangement was under the pretext to re-employ the serving DG after retirement. Later on, three successive extensions were also granted up to May 22, 2021 in contract period.

The audit maintains that reemployment and further extensions was irregular together with payment of remuneration thereof. Non-adherence to reemployment policy resulted in irregular reemployment of employee as Senior Advisor (Tech) and payment of remuneration of Rs 39.07 million thereof up to the financial year 2018-19. Unconfirmed reports also suggest that Nepra is now hiring employees from the Middle East to meet human resource requirements.

The audit has also pointed out irregular payment of Rs 9.98 million due to ad-hoc relief to the consultant tariff.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020