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PESHAWAR: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has detected irregularities amounting to Rs.35.887 million in the accounts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade (KP-BoIT) during fiscal year 2018-19, said Audit Report 2019-20 on the accounts of public sector enterprises (PSEs). The irregularities have been pinpointed in hiring of employees and procurements.

The Audit Report has already been presented in the provincial assembly, which has referred it to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the house. The irregular appointment of an officer cost Rs.11.086 million to the institution.

The irregularity was observed during audit for the Years 2013-14 to 2018-19 that the management selected Muhammad Shahid Khan as Director Energy & Power. On scrutiny of interview record, it was observed that one of the member of Selection Committee given adverse remarks ‘unsatisfactory’ against Muhammad Shahid Khan and recommended Tahir Moeen as a suitable candidate for the post.

But, later on Muhammad Shahid Khan was appointed vide appointment letter dated March 24, 2015. Therefore undue favor was extended in the appointment of Muhammad Shahid Khan for the post of Director Energy & Power. Thus, his appointment and payment of salary expenditure Rs.11.086 million during the period w.e.f March 24, 2015 to June 2019 was held irregular.

The audit has attributed the irregular appointment to weak internal control and in violation of government instructions.

The irregularity was reported to the management through Audit Inspection Report (AIR) dated November 27, 2019. The management in its reply dated January 3, 2020 stated that top candidate had requested to be considered on deputation. Reply was not convincing as no evidence in support of said statement was provided by the management. The Departmental Audit Committee (DAC) meeting was not convened till the finalization of this report despite efforts. Audit has recommended investigation into the appointment of officers in violation of instructions issued by the provincial government besides fixing responsibility thereof.

Similarly, irregular expenditure of Rs.2.458 million was incurred on foreign tour made in violation of complete ban on participation in workshops/seminars and trainings abroad involving provincial funds.

During audit of KP Board of Investment and Trade, Peshawar for the years 2013-14 to 2018-19, it was observed that a sum of Rs.2.484 million incurred on foreign visits during the years 2017-18 and 2018-19. The expenditure was considered irregular by the audit occurred in violation of government policy.

The irregularity was reported to the management through AIR dated November 27, 2019. The management in its reply dated January 3, 2020 stated that economy measures referred in the para was applied on the organizations/departments for which funds are provided out of the current revenue budget. The reply was not convincing as no documentary evidence was provided. Despite efforts, the DAC meeting was not convened till the finalization of audit report. Audit has recommended investigation into reasons for non-adherence to government instructions besides fixing responsibility thereof.

Furthermore, another amount of Rs.15.204 million was incurred due to irregular fixation of pay made in violation of the Finance Department letter regarding re-employment of retired civil servant or a retired office of the armed forces re-employed against a higher post may be allowed the last pay drawn provided that if he was drawing pay in previous pay scale before his retirement, his pay may be fixed in the present scale at the relevant stage plus allowance as requisite for the sanctioned post.

During audit for the year 2013-14 to 2018-19, it was observed that Nazir Ahmad Awan was re-employed as Additional Director Energy & Power (BS-18) on contract basis for a period of one year on monthly salary Rs.150,000/-. Later on, the contract period of the office was extended for further two years w.e.f and promoted as Director HR, Admn & Coordination (BS-19) at monthly salary Rs.200,000/-. Similarly, another officer retired Col. Muhammad Shahid Khan was appointed as Director Energy & Power vide appointment letter dated March 24, 2015. The management appointed him on contract for a period of one year, extendable for another two years, at fixed monthly salary Rs.185,000/-.

The officer was retired from armed forces, but discharge certificate, pension book and relieving orders of core authority and his LPC were not obtained by the management prior to his appointment. Remuneration of the officers were fixed without considering their last pay, and against the standing instructions of KP Finance Department as well as Establishment Division, which result into irregular expenditure of Rs.15.204 million on account of pay and perks paid to said officers.

The irregularity was reported to the management through AIR dated November 27, 2019. The management in its reply stated that appointment of both the officers was fresh and no re-employment. The reply was not convincing as the appointment of retired government officers is considered as re-employment. The DAC meeting was not convened till the finalization of this report despite efforts. So, the audit has recommended investigation into the matter besides fixing responsibility.

Furthermore, an amount of Rs.3.153 million was incurred on irregular purchase of vehicles by violating standing orders, Rs.1.017 million on irregular hiring of security guards and Rs.2.163 million on irregular award of advertisement work in violation of the prescribed procedure. Audit has recommended investigation and fixing of responsibility in all cases of irregularities.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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