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ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Friday, expressed serious anger over the absence of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials, saying the NAB officials were not bothering to attend the meeting.

The Sub-Committee meeting of the PAC was held here under the chairmanship of Member National Assembly Raja Riaz Ahmad to discuss audit paras related to the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) and the Establishment division.

Member committee Noor Alam Khan said that the PAC has referred various scandals to the NAB but the corruption watchdog never responded timely, adding that even some paras are pending since decades.

He remarked that the NAB must timely reply to the queries forwarded by the PAC for investigation, otherwise, the forum should take appropriate action against ignoring the PAC directives.

He said that the committee has requested the chairman NAB and the director general (DG) NAB to appear before the panel on various occasions to brief the parliamentarians on the status of many cases forwarded to the NAB for investigations but senior NAB officials always ignored the directives.

The Chairman PAC sub-committee, Raja Riaz Ahmad, directed the NAB to respond to the various audit paras within three months, otherwise, stern action will be taken as per law.

The forum was informed that the current PAC constituted on December 20, 2018 headed by Rana Tanveer Hussain, started working backlog of 10 years Audit Reports from 2010-11 to 2019-20.

The panel has been performing along with its seven Sub-Committees for audit reports and another sub-committee on monitoring and implementation.

The workload included 1,863 grants and 28,288 paras, including backlog of previous 25years PAC reports, are pending for examination for which the PAC’s sub-committees have held 303 meetings and examined 7,376 paras out of which 57 paras were referred to the NAB, 27 to the FIA, and 2,319 paras were referred for pursuance at the Departmental Accounts Committee (DAC) level.

The PAC strengthened its capacity as per its special report adopted by the National Assembly for Structural Changes to Improve the Performance of the PAC, Compliance of Directions of the Speaker to streamline its working, reaffirming the audit jurisdiction of the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) relating to authorities or bodies established by, or under the control of, the federal government and chalking out of plans for holding the DACs meetings.

As a landmark achievement, recovery of Rs461,411.31 million on the directions of the PAC has also been verified by the AGP.

The PAC has also efficiently and effectively addressed the multiple issues relating to irregularities in and audit of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) by the Auditor General of Pakistan; Pakistan’s most expensive wedding ceremony in Lahore; Special Audit Report on Covid-19-related spending; Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as recently reviewed by National Accounts Committee; irregularities in Refunds of Sales Tax and exemptions; allegations of mega corruption in Utility Stores Corporation, about procurement of sugar, flour and other edibles; National Assembly and Senate Secretariats Employees Cooperative Housing societies, and many other matters of public importance.

The PAC is committed to continue to endeavour for effective Parliamentary Oversight through best utilisation of the available resources, simplifying results through recoveries, ensuring accountability of all the concerned through time-bound initiatives and by introducing culture that encourages performance at all levels.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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