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ISLAMABAD: Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has unearthed serious irregularities amounting to over Rs3.3 billion in the accounts of Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and its attached departments in its audit report.

In the report of the audit year 2020-21 that covers financial year 2019-20, the AGP has revealed that the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) has showed nil compliance with the directives of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) related to two audit paras in financial year 2017-18.

Audit observations raised by AGP include Rs2.79 billion under the head of recoveries, Rs384 million related to internal controls, almost Rs81 billion related to management of accounts with commercial banks, Rs60.46 million under the head of "others" and Rs29 million under the head of "value for money and service delivery."

The AGP report states that the management of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PCSQA) did not recover marking fee of Rs2.62 billion from its three clients; Cement Industries, Tapal Tea Private Limited and Unilever Pakistan Limited for marking service provided to them by PSQCA. The audit has recommended immediate recovery of dues for depositing in government treasury.

The audit revealed that Pakistan Council of Science and Industrial Research (PCSIR) Laboratories Lahore operated four bank accounts in a branch of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) in Lahore. These accounts had a total deposit of almost Rs81 million. The audit observed that these bank accounts were opened without approval of Finance Division and heavy deposits were retained in these accounts. The audit has recommended closure of these bank accounts and depositing of funds into government treasury.

Audit also noted unauthorised retention of sale of proceeds of sanitizers and departments receipts exceeding Rs35.56 million by PCSIR Laboratories Karachi, Peshawar and Lahore.

Audit noted that the sales proceeds were not deposited into government treasury in violation of financial rules. The AGP has recommended that the matter be investigated and all receipts be deposited into government treasury.

According to the AGP, irregular leasing of PCSIR Laboratories Karachi premises at lump-sum rate caused public exchequer a loss of Rs17.50 million. The management of Karachi Lab Complex of PCSIR signed two lease agreements with two private companies; Reign Pharmaceuticals Private Limited and Espoir Pharmaceuticals Private Limited and rented out premises at lump-sum monthly rate of Rs75000 for four years instead of applicable rent of Rs20 per square foot.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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