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ISLAMABAD: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has unearthed fraud, embezzlement and irregularities worth around Rs13 billion in the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

The audit report on the accounts of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division for the year 2021-22 found 28 cases, involving an amount of around Rs13 billion, where fraudulent activity, non-recovery, irregular payment, unauthorised payment and undue favour were observed.

The audit observed that fraudulent activity was made by some franchises exactly at the same time or up to six transactions in less than a minute which involved an amount of Rs 2.723 billion.

Suspicious withdrawal activities in cases of some BVS franchises an ATMs, such as more than one transaction occurring exactly at same time, more than two transactions within one minute, up to 1,000 transactions in one day and withdrawal up to Rs 235 million by one BVS in one financial year were reported in the BISP-MIS.

The audit is of the view that these suspicious withdrawals need to be investigated to fix responsibility and recovery of fraudulentwithdrawals from the culprits.

The report observed irregularity and non-compliance for non-discrediting of beneficiaries’ account’s involving an amount of Rs 2.227 billion. Management of BISP enrolled and served 6.90 million and 6.75 million beneficiaries, respectively under regular BISP UCT and CCT during the financial year 2020-21. The audit observed that beneficiaries’ accounts were not de-crediting during the period from 01-11-2020 to 30-06-2021.

The audit is of the view that no approval of the Board was available to halt the de-credit of accounts of beneficiaries. The audit is of the view that such non-de-crediting of accounts and onward non-deposit of de-credited amount into government treasury was loss to the government exchequer.

The report noted that non-monitoring by BISP resulted in over-utilisation of funds shown by the World Food Programme (WFP) in the annual report amount of $ 5.028 million. The audit observed that data monitoring has not been carried out as the cost of the total sachet distributed comes to $ 841,252 up to 31-3-201 as per BISP-MIS. Whereas utilisation of $ 5,869,421 under the expenditure head “Food and related cost” was communicated to the BISP.

The management of BISP Islamabad created 882 posts of compliance monitors at lump sum packages of Rs 43,000 per month and paid Rs 168 million during the year 2020-21 to compliance monitors who joined their duties. The audit is of the view that the creation of the post during the ban was irregular.

Other paras included; non-adjustment of saving of 1st year in budget releases of next year – Rs 415.104 million, irregular payment of cash transfers to government employees/pensioners and to their spouse – Rs 369.636 million, non-recovery of penalty from the survey firm due to less deployment of enumerators –Rs 360.765 million, irregular enrolment of beneficiaries under NSER not meeting the eligibility criteria of PMT score – Rs 149.172 million, payment to ineligible beneficiaries - Rs 26.15 million, irregular payment of cash transfer to government employees/pensioners and to their spouse Rs 146.784 million.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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