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PESHAWAR: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has detected an unauthorised expenditure amounting to Rs.867.858 million in Health Department during financial year 2017-18, said Audit Report on accounts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Year 2019-20.

The audit report has already been presented in the provincial assembly, and further deliberations, the Speaker has referred it to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the house.

In first case, a huge public fund of Rs810.277 million was placed in private banks in violation of the standing instructions of the Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vide his letter dated 7.11.2017, which stipulates that ‘the provincial government departments should place/keep their funds with a maximum of three banks having a credit rating (A), in the future. No department will deposit money/ fund in commercial banks without prior approval of Finance Department and all heads of government department/offices/ autonomous/semi autonomous bodies/corporations are hereby advised to ensure strict compliance with the above instruction of the government in letter and spirit.

During audit of the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) Peshawar for the Financial Year 2018-19, it was observed that Finance Department maintained their financial transactions in 25 bank accounts in four different banks, out of which 05 bank accounts were opened after November 2017 (03) bank accounts in Meezan Bank and 02 bank accounts in (BOK) was considered as unauthorized.

Furthermore, while going through the internal control over the financial management by the Finance Department, it was observed that no prior approval was obtained regarding the opening of the mentioned 05 bank accounts.

The audit has attributed occurrence of the lapse to weak administrative and financial controls in the department. But, when pointed out in October 2019, it was replied by the management that detailed reply will be furnished later on.

Furthermore, despite the requests of the audit, no meeting of the Departmental Accounts Committee (DAC) was convened till finalization of this audit report. So, the audit has recommended investigation into the matter at appropriate level for fixing responsibility against the person (s) at fault.

The second case was of the unauthorized retention of funds amounting to Rs19.233 million in bank accounts in violation of the directives of the Finance Department.

The Govt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Department while releasing special grant during 2017-18 for the procurement of equipment for District Headquarters (DHQs) Hospitals, Basic Health Units (BHUs) and Civil Dispensaries, vide their letter dated 1.02.2018 directed that unspent balances o 30th June 2018 will form part of Account-I dully surrendered.

But, during audit of the DHQ Chitral for the Financial Year 2018-19, it was observed that funds to the tone of Rs.75,543,282/- provided by the Finance Department wide letter mentioned above was drawn in the name of DDO (Drawing & Disbursing Officer) from the treasury and deposited in the Bank of Khyber Account No.CD-12910-00-3 instead of payment to the supplier. The payments were shown made during 2017-18.

Audit held that the funds released to the DHQ Chitral were booked in the Appropriation Account for 2017-18, therefore, the balance amount of Rs.53,654,056 (73,543,282-19,889,226) was required to have been surrendered as per directions of the Finance Department. Contrarily, it was retained in the bank account and the expenditure was incurred during 2018-19 and also Rs19,233,290/- was retained in the closing balances on 30th June 2019.

The amount was drawn from the government account and shown spent on the relevant activities during 2017-18 just to avoid lapse of funds, which is against the spirit of treasury rules as well as directions of the Finance Department. The expenditure during 2018-19 and retention of closing balances in bank account is held irregular.

Audit has attributed the occurrence of the irregularity to the violation of rules and when pointed out, the department stated that detailed reply will be submitted in due course before the DAC. But, despite the requests of the audit, no meeting of the DAC was convened. So, the audit recommended investigation into the matter and fixing of responsibility against the person (s) at fault.

In third case, an unauthorized drawl of Rs.16.198 million has been detected in head of pay and allowances in violation of the Civil Servants Act, 1973, Conduct Rules, which says no government servant shall, except with the previous sanction of the government, undertake any employment, other than his official duties.

During audit of the Mardan Medical Complex, Mardan for the Financial Year 2017-18, it was observed that DMS (Admin-I) BPS-19 (Civil Servant) of Mardan Medical Complex was appointed as Hospital Director Mardan Medical Complex on 18.07.2016 at a monthly pay of Rs.550,000/-.

Audit held that the incumbent was government servant, who neither resigned from his previous job nor did he obtain sanction from the government for undertaking the new job. Therefore, the payment so made to him amounting to Rs16,198,387/- on account of pay and allowances needs recovery.

Audit has attributed the occurrence to weak internal controls, but when pointed out in February 2019, it was stated that a detailed reply will be furnished after consulting the record.

The request of audit for convening a meeting of DAC was also not honoured till finalization of this report. Therefore, audit recommended investigating the matter and fixing responsibility against the person (s) at fault.

In fourth case, an unauthorized expenditure of Rs.9.243 million was detected on account of purchase of 04 vehicles in violation of complete ban on the purchase of all types of vehicles.

During the audit of the Khyber Medical University (KMU) Peshawar for the Financial Year 2016-17 and 2017-18, it was observed that a sum of Rs.9.243 million was drawn on account of purchase of 04 vehicles and was shown paid to M/S Toyota and M/S Honda.

The expenditure was held unauthorized on four different grounds and attributed to weak internal controls and non-adherence to rules and when pointed out, the department failed in provision of record and despite requests DAC meeting was also not convened.

So, the audit has recommended investigating the matter and fixing responsibility against person (s) at fault.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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